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South's huge fourth quarter too late at Lowndes

South Gwinnett’s Adrian Ranson leaps for a pass after it is tipped by Lowndes defensive back Mikeon Padgett (45) during the game Friday night at Martin Stadium. 

South Gwinnett’s Adrian Ranson leaps for a pass after it is tipped by Lowndes defensive back Mikeon Padgett (45) during the game Friday night at Martin Stadium. 

VALDOSTA— Gwinnett County’s bad luck against Lowndes continued Friday night at Martin Stadium as the Region 1-AAAAA juggernaut Vikings took down the South Gwinnett Comets 34-26.

“I am proud of our kids,” South Gwinnett head coach John Small said. “Our kids never quit and they never have. We knew we could play with (Lowndes).”

Despite a valiant 26-point fourth quarter comeback by the Comets, which featured three rushing touchdowns — one on a 62-yard fake punt — and a passing touchdown, the Comets could not overcome a dismal first half in which they were outgained 234 yards to just 64 and outscored 13-0 by the Vikings.

“We gave them 13 points in the first half,” Small said.

“We shot ourselves in the foot and our kids were composed at halftime. We came out and we gave up a quick score and another quick score and, like I said, our kids came back and we kept battling and battling.”

Lowndes finished the game with 416 yards of total offense, 188 of which came from speedy running back Troy Braswell, while South Gwinnett finished the game with 319 yards of offense.

Despite finding themselves down 28-0 midway through the third quarter, the Comets had their best chance of tying the game after closing the LHS lead to just eight. However, a costly fumble by gave Lowndes the ball back.

The Vikings wasted little time extending their lead off the fumble, as they scored with a 69-yard rushing touchdown by Troy Braswell on the very next play.

South regained possession down 34-20, but spent every remaining second securing a final drive touchdown that made the final score 34-26.

“We had a shot late there, we are only down a touchdown and then we have a fumble,” Small said. “We give them the ball back and they go down and score on a big play and then we came down and scored. We just ran out of time.”

With the loss, Gwinnett County teams have now dropped 10 of the last 12 games against the Vikings, something Rollins said should have changed on Friday night.

“To be honest, that record should have changed tonight,” Rollins said after the game. “We were fortunate enough to have good weather. I honestly believe we have some pretty good football up north too and that is what we wanted to show people here.”