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PREP FOOTBALL PREDICTION COLUMN: Time to toast Lowe

Herald High School Beat Writer Mike Phillips

Herald High School Beat Writer Mike Phillips

Here’s a prediction worth a lifetime: Deerfield-Windsor’s Allen Lowe will win his 200th game tonight.

Couldn’t happen to a nicer or classier guy.

Think about it: 200 wins on a high school football field — 200. That’s like 2,000 in dog years. You would have to average 10 wins a year for 20 years.

It’s a number that boggles the mind.

It’s a lifetime.

And Lowe deserved every one of those wins. I wish everyone could spend some time with Lowe on a Friday night. It’s an education, and more than a few times every Friday, Lowe will surprise you with his knowledge and insight. And at times, you’ll drop your notepad.

I remember a game in the playoffs when I was standing near Lowe. It was a see-saw, back-and-forth, gut-wrenching night, and DWS’ opponent was facing a third-and-got-to-have-it down against Deerfield.

Lowe started yelling to his kids and told them what to get ready for, a slick reverse that no one could have possibly seen coming. But Lowe saw it. Crystal-clear stuff for him.

The Deerfield kids stuffed the play for a loss, forcing a punt, and the crowd went crazy. Lowe was smiling, proud of his kids. He turned to his assistant coaches and said, “That’s the same play they ran against us three years ago in the state quarterfinals.’’

Lowe knew.

You know how to win 200 games? You gotta know, and I’m not talking about the play that’s coming up against you (although that helps).

Lowe knows. He knows Xs and Os. He knows the game inside out and so much more.

He knows about heart and character — his teams never take the field without both — and he knows what’s important in life — God and family — and embracing both with passion.

You gotta know the game and the down and the distance, but most of all, you gotta know kids and how to get the most out of them.

Lowe does that better than anyone. He gets the most out of kids who give DWS their most.

They care because they know he cares. He’s got that touch, the stuff you can’t always see but always feel from a coach.

Lowe may be at his best on Friday nights in the playoffs, out-smarting the guy on the other side of the field and watching his kids simply out-play teams that are often bigger and faster.

But he’s also at his best on ice cream days at Deerfield. That’s right, ice cream days. It’s a Lowe tradition. The kids always know when it’s an ice cream day, and when practice ends they walk off the field and hear the ice cream truck pulling into the parking lot just outside where they enter the locker room.

They line up outside the truck, looking like 8-year-olds, waiting for their turn. They get whatever they want from those goofy-looking super color-filled rockets to drop-dead delicious frudgesicles. The truck is there for them — and only them. Just like Lowe.

Silly? Sure, but the kids love it. And it’s not about the ice cream. It’s about how they sit around outside, joking and laughing and poking fun at each other — it’s about the break and the time in the sun together. Priceless.

Lowe knows.

Next time I see Lowe, I might just buy him one of those fudgesicles. I’ll toast him: “To 200 wins. To a lifetime!’’

PREDICTION: Deerfield-Windsor 38, Sherwood Christian Academy 30

BIG ONE: It’s not the game of the week, but that’s only because it’s in Cairo. That’s where Westover can take a big bite out of the Region 1-AAAA title tonight against state power Cairo. Put a little syrup on it, and it will taste that much sweeter for Westover, which has never won a region title.

But if the Patriots, fresh off upsetting Monroe, can beat Cairo in Cairo, they will win the region title. That’s what this game means. They had Cairo down, 20-0, at halftime last year and lost, 28-20.

If this game was in Albany, I’d pick the Patriots to win it, but it’s going to be incredibly difficult to walk into Cairo and beat the Syrupmakers, who know more about winning big games than any team in all of Southwest Georgia.

PREDICTION: Cairo 21, Westover 17

1-A SHOWDOWN: The Miller County at Mitchell County game is pretty intriguing. It’s the Region 1-A opener for a region that is wide open this year.

Larry Cornelius has done a great job at Mitchell, but his Eagles drew a tough draw in the opener because right now the Pirates look like the best team in the region. They’re 3-1, losing to Early, and Miller just beat Marion County, which had been ranked in the state’s Top 10.

Terrell County is scoring points like a pinball machine (you have to be over 30 to get that) and Calhoun County looks like its young kids might be just old enough to make a run. Mitchell will be in the hunt, and Seminole County is much better than its record.

By the way, Seminole and Miller meet on the final day of the regular season, and that could decide the title in the biggest rivalry game in this part of Georgia. If Miller wants to win it all, the Pirates have to start tonight.

PREDICTION: Miller County 28, Mitchell County 21

BEST OF THE REST:

Monroe 28, Albany 20

Lee County 42, Dodge County 28

Americus-Sumter 35, Worth County 28

Brooks County 20, Early County 18

Crisp County 20, Dougherty 14

Terrell County 28, Calhoun County 14

Fitzgerald 35, Pelham 14

Randolph-Clay 27,

Barbour County (Ala.) 21

Westwood 45, Tiftarea 14

Terrell Academy 14, Crisp Academy 7

Stewart County 28, Baconton Charter 14

Southland 32, Heritage 14