VALDOSTA, Ga. – Roswell coach John Ford was looking to give his team a serious test in the Hornets’ season opener, but may have gotten a little more of a challenge than he was hoping for against perennial state power Lowndes.
The Vikings dominated for three quarters before the Hornets picked up a pair of fourth quarter touchdowns in a 37-14 loss Friday, Aug. 22, on Lowndes’ home field.
The game was a rematch of a 2007 state playoff game in which Roswell gave the state champion Vikings their toughest battle of the postseason in the quarterfinals.
While Lowndes has remained a state power since winning the ’07 title, the Hornets have not fared as well after sharing the state title in 2006 and giving the Vikings a battle the next year.
Lowndes led Roswell 14-0 at the half, and put the game away in the third period. Roswell, which managed just 8 yards total offense in the first half, scored on a pair of touchdown passes in the final period from James Whitaker to Mechane Slade. Whitaker finished with 109 yards passing.
The Hornets return home Friday night to play crosstown rival Centennial, which will be making its season debut.
Both teams feature some talented skill position players, several of whom played major roles in last year’s 39-30 Roswell victory over the Knights.
Brothers Kendrick and Shakur Jackson scored two touchdowns each in Roswell’s victory, with Slade, running back Sheldon Evans and receiver Hunter Coleman all making key contributions.
Centennial returns all-purpose back Caden Herring, but the Knights lost standout receiver Christian Robinson and quarterback Matthew Harries, who played well against the Hornets but was injured midway through the season.