Vikings prep for first pre-season game (Photo Gallery)

| August 4, 2016

By Tiara Battle | Valdosta Today Sports Contributor

VALDOSTA – The Lowndes High Vikings prepped for their Friday scrimmage against Bainbridge with a full-contact padded practice Tuesday.

With the exception of not hitting first string quarterback Michael Barrett, the Vikings were intense all evening on both sides of the ball.

The practice began with a couple of special drills for each position, showing intensity and speed on the defensive side. With the leading nose guard, Devon Holmes, returning for his senior year, the defense possesses a leader with the desire to be great this upcoming season.

Alongside Holmes is linebacker Jeff Davis. Davis is also returning for his senior year and helps bring energy to the defensive side of the ball. Both players were aggressive on the line all evening long. The defensive backs even got in a few interceptions and swats.

On the offensive side, there are several positions watch as the season begins. The Viking offense has talent in more places than one and will be hard to stop.

The offense looks a little different than last year. Michael Barrett and Tyson Harris played mostly on the defensive side in 2015 at linebacker and safety, respectively. This year, Barrett will be the Vikings’ quarterback and Harris will be at wide out.

The shift is quite a change, but both players are already excelling at their positions and have several play makers around them.

Also returning at wide out is Xavier Jenkins. He recently de-committed from the University of Georgia but still has UGA and other Division 1 colleges to choose from. Jenkins has offers from East Carolina, Louisville and Mississippi State.

Tayvonn Kyle, Jalen Smith, Marcus Brownrigg and Mikko Washington should also get a good amount of playing time at wide receiver this year. This wide receiver corp with the addition of Tyson Harris is fast, intense, and athletic.

J.D. Lee, Travis Tisdale and Jaylon Bell will be seen often at running back. All three have something different to offer and are generally tough to bring down.

Up front, where it all starts, are some offensive lineman that will be of big help in every aspect of the offense. The entire offensive line has some added mass compared to last season but have some big shoes to fill after Tarik Adams and Nate Lee graduated in May. A few to look out for this season are junior Palmer Henderson, senior Tucker Barnes  and Danny Corbett.

There wasn’t much of the kicking game to be observed from this practice, but there should be no worries with Tyson Shaw taking the place of Solomon Lee who graduated this past May. Shaw got a couple of snaps at linebacker and punter last year, and from the looks of it he’ll be doing a lot of the same this upcoming year. The only difference now is that he will be the full time kicker and punter.

Overall, the Vikings are looking like a top contender in region 1-7A on all sides of the ball. They have their first Preseason game on Friday at 8 p.m. against Bainbridge at home in Martin Stadium. Their first regular season game is August 19th at 8 p.m. against Valdosta at Bazemore-Hyder Stadium.

All photos by Chase Calhoun

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