TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - High school football is entering it's last few weeks of play, and for Valdosta and Lowndes, this Friday night is arguably the biggest game of the season, as the Winnersville Classic takes the turf at Lowndes High School.
It's a rivalry that's been going on for nearly five decades. Valdosta won it last year on a field goal, and it's not something Lowndes hasn't forgotten. Head Coach Randy McPherson said it's hard to forget a loss like that, but his team has been working hard to get a win this go round.
Both squads, also with the same record in 1-AAAAAA play, and McPherson said to get a win, they'll have to take care of the football, but he knows his team won't need any motivation to play come Friday.
"This is a game here, that lasts a whole year," he said at practice earlier this week. "The game comes up every day throughout the year. If a player can't get excited about that, and can't get focused about that, then I don't know."
Like the Vikings, Valdosta is also coming a bye week. Head coach Rance Gillespie is in his sixth Winnersville Classic, and said this year will no doubt be as competitive as the previous five.
Valdosta has the big quarterback in Seth Shuman, but Gillespie said it will be special teams that proves to be the difference maker come Friday night. The biggest obstacle? Ignoring the hype that comes with playing in this game.
"You're got to overcome the emotions and anxieties that are accompanied with this football game," he said. "Once you get into that stadium, it's a feeling like no other, it really is. I've been apart of some pretty big football atmospheres at the University of Georgia and at Georgia Southern. This is unique in and of itself, so you have to overcome those emotions and you've got to make it football."
Friday's match-up kicks off at 8:00 at Lowndes High.