What to expect: Valdosta playoffs


Danielle Osakwe

Michael predicts how the Warriors will fare against the other time under the Friday night lights.

Michael Smith, Photographer, Reporter

Playoffs are upon us as the real season begins November 13. The top 32 football teams in the state of Georgia take the field with no wins, no losses, and NC hosts Valdosta High School, the school with the most all-time wins of any school in the country. However, Valdosta receded in recent years, and in 2012, the last time the Warriors and Wildcats faced off, fell to NC, 42-14.

On offense, Valdosta will rely on its running game and its best offensive player, senior quarterback Seth Shuman, a fairly accurate quarterback who defines his play by his skill and success after a play breaks down, running past and around pass rushers. Shuman’s playing style bares similarities to that of Johnny Manziel in his heisman winning days at Texas A&M. Valdosta designs much of its passing game around Shuman’s mobility, either moving him outside the pocket to throw or sending receivers deep and allowing an extended play to create space.

In order to limit Valdosta’s offense, NC’s defensive linemen will need to “stay in their lanes,” or stay patient and calm to limit Shuman’s impromptu deep passes. Defensively, expect NC to play patiently and defend the long ball.

Valdosta prepares to impose a small but fast defense that swarms to the ball at all times.
Michael Smith
Valdosta prepares to impose a small but fast defense that swarms to the ball at all times.

On defense, Valdosta varies between using three and four defensive linemen from game to game, requiring offenses to prepare for both. The Wildcats’ best defensive player, three star georgia southern commit Todd Bradley, weighs in at 5’10” and 210 pounds. The Valdosta defense plays small and fast, tracking and hunting down ball carriers at the first sign of a play discrepancy. The defense combines a multitude of coverages, sometimes combining them to confuse opposing quarterbacks. Valdosta primarily utilizes cover three and four defenses to prevent deep passes, and trusts its quick linebackers to shut down runs.

Expect NC to run the ball straight into an average at best defensive line, and throw plenty of quick passes when the Wildcat defensive backs play far off of receivers. This game lines up for a shootout with Valdosta’s electric passing game. Expect NC to find holes in the Valdosta defense for points in the most important game of the season. Win or go home starts now.

The Chant’s prediction: NC 45, Valdosta 41.