• John Macon Gillespie

Coverage Recap: Vardaman 36 | West Lowndes 6

The ground game shined in 1A football last night as the Vardaman Rams defeated their region-rival West Lowndes Panthers 36-6.

Both Vardaman (4-2, 2-1) and West Lowndes (1-4, 0-3) relied on their speedy tailbacks and explosive plays to find a rhythm offensively, but it was ultimately the Rams that established a consistent level of play. Although Vardaman shot themselves in the foot at times with penalties and turnovers, they ultimately overcame those mistakes thanks in large part to Patrick Pratt.

Pratt, as he has all season, gave the Rams the boost and big-play ability they needed all game long. He accounted for three touchdowns (all of which came on the ground) and intercepted a pass on defense, the 18th of his career. Pratt’s playmaking prowess was also matched on the ground by quarterback Trae Owen. Owen has a shiftiness to his running game that is accompanied by a certain level of power that makes him difficult for defenses to contain.

The other two Vardaman scores came via runs by Michael Williams and Landon Patch. Patch’s score was the first of his career, and a lot can be said about how the senior corner and running back has progressed this season. Patch is a senior that is only playing his second year of football, but he has made a strong impact these last two weeks in key divisional wins for Vardaman. With Patch and Pratt at cornerback and Kody Townsend at free safety, the Vardaman secondary could be hitting their stride at just the right time as they near the heart of region play.

For West Lowndes, their offensive production came mostly from the legs of running back Quinshawn Lucious. Lucious did what he does best on Friday as he eluded Ram defenders and bolted his way downfield on numerous carries, especially in the second quarter. Not to be lost in the shuffle, however, is sophomore quarterback Jherquaveus Sanders. Sanders accounted for the only Panther score of the night: a quarterback sneak from the one-yard line after a Vardaman turnover gave West Lowndes promising field position. A few Panther drives, including the scoring one, were assisted by Vardaman mistakes and penalties, but West Lowndes has enough speed and athleticism to take advantage of such miscues.

For the Panthers, their focus shifts to building a foundation for the coming seasons. West Lowndes has a young offensive line and a young yet promising quarterback that can lead their program back to its former heights with the right amount of work. The Panthers now sit at 1-4 overall and 0-3 in region play and are going to struggle to reach the postseason this year. The future for West Lowndes, however, is bright, and they will be back on top sooner rather than later.

For Vardaman, the attention needs to be on ironing out mistakes such as penalties and turnovers and reviving the passing game. Vardaman was not very threatening through the air Friday night, save for a few plays, and had more miscues than they would like. As the Rams near the gauntlet of their region schedule, these mistakes will need to be corrected.

Vardaman is off next week before traveling to Ethel on Oct. 6 to continue region play. West Lowndes will load up and travel to French Camp Academy next week before traveling to the region-leading Nanih Waiya Warriors the following Friday.

#Vardaman #WestLowndes #JohnMaconGillespie

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