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FPD Vikings Tame Howard Huskies 34-14 in Season-Opening Victory at Mercer

MACON, Ga. – It was a one possession game at halftime.

That was the case until the end of the third quarter that saw the FPD Vikings (1-0) post 21 unanswered points en route to a convincing 34-14 season-opening victory over the 4A Howard High School Huskies (0-2) at Mercer’s Five Star Stadium on Saturday night, August 27.

“I couldn’t be prouder for our guys,” FPD head football coach Greg Moore said. “We’ve been talking a lot about hard work and getting the kids to do the right thing and they bought in. It really showed tonight.”

The Vikings, who lead the overall series with Howard 2-1 after Saturday triumph, started the scoring early when junior quarterback Dalton Cox found junior wide receiver Titus Moore for a 43-yard touchdown at the 10:08 mark of the first quarter. Andrei Parrish added extra point and FPD led 7-0.

The Huskies would add six on a 65-yard punt return by Avery Vining just over a minute into the second quarter, but the extra point was no good by Kody Burrell to maintain FPD’s lead at 7-6.

“There was a lot of chess playing early on in the game,” Greg Moore said. “Coach (Barney) Hester does a great job getting his guys ready to play and his record speaks for itself. We were trying to figure out what was going right for us and the kids responded like we wanted them to.”

Cox added his first of two rushing touchdowns with 30 seconds remaining in the first half. Parrish tacked on the point-after to send FPD into the locker room at halftime with a 14-6 lead.

And after intermission, the Vikings blew the doors wide open in the third quarter.

After both squads went scoreless for seven minutes, the Vikings marched down the field and Cox finished with a two-yard touchdown run. Parrish’s PAT sailed through the uprights and FPD led 21-6 with 4:50 to play in the period.

On the ensuing kickoff, the Huskies fumbled and Joshua Raines recovered deep into Howard territory. Cox then hooked up with Moore in the air again with a 21-yard touchdown pass and, along with the extra point, the Vikings lead 28-6 with 4:39 to play in the third frame.

“He was great,” Cox said of Titus Moore. “The offensive line did a great job protecting me tonight to help me find the guys we needed to get the ball to. I couldn’t have done it without all of them.”

FPD ensured victory at the end of the quarter.

After an interception by Titus Moore, the Vikings marched swiftly down the field and punched in a 5-yard touchdown via C.J. Harris. The extra point was no good, but the Vikings led comfortably 34-6.

“That quarter was obviously the turning point of the game,” Greg Moore said. “I was happy that we got a lot of chances and we turned them into points and did it really quick. Our defense and special teams guys made some great plays to get us the ball back when we needed it.”

Howard would score just one more time in the contest at the 9:47 mark of the fourth quarter on a 3-yard pass from Quintan Sewell to Avery Vinings. Vinings followed with a two-point conversion to make it a 34-14 game.

Cox finished his Viking debut 22-for-28 with 277 yards and two touchdowns in the air while rushing for two scores.

“He’s just so good,” Titus Moore said about Cox. “I just go out and run and he puts it right in my hands.”

Titus Moore led the Vikings in receiving with eight catches for 108 yards and two touchdowns.

C.J. Harris paced FPD’s ground attack, finishing with 12 carries, 90 yards and one touchdown.

“It feels great to get the win,” Harris said. “We knew we had to come out and play. This was the start of our season and we wanted to make it great.”

FPD finished with 15 first downs, seven from the pass, six from the rush and two on penalties.

The Viking defense allowed 319 yards, although 115 were given by penalties. In the air and on the ground, FPD allowed just 204 yards to Howard.

Raekwon Holmes paced the Huskies in rushing with 43 yards and Javarsia Meadows finished with three receptions and 22 yards.

Howard totaled nine first downs in the contest. The Huskies were penalized 13 times for 113 yards.

“It was great to see everyone’s hard work from the winter, spring and summer to tonight pay off,” Greg Moore said. “To take what we’ve been working on and see it come to fruition is very fulfilling to the players and the coaching staff. Everyone planned well and we have to keep doing that to get to where we want to be.”

FPD will now shift its focus to the Brookstone Cougars (1-0) next Friday, Sept. 2 for a GHSA Class-A non-region road contest in Columbus, Ga.

Brookstone, who was off this week, defeated Jordan High School 49-32 on August 19.

Kickoff in Columbus is set for 7:30 p.m. on Friday.

BOX SCORE:

FPD 34, HOWARD 14

FPD 7 7 20 0 – 34
Howard 0 6 0 0 8 – 14

First Quarter
FPD: Titus Moore 38 pass from Dalton Cox (Andrei Parrish kick)

Second Quarter
H: Avery Vining 70 punt return (kick failed)
FPD: Cox 1 run (Parrish kick)

Third quarter
FPD: Cox 1 (Parrish kick)
FPD: Moore 21 pass from Cox (Parrish kick)
FPD: CJ Harris 5 run (kick failed)

Fourth Quarter
H: Vining 3 pass from Quintan Sewell (Vining run)

FPD — H
First 15 — 9
Rush 28-121 — 34-148
Pass 22-28-2-0 — 10-18-1-2
Pass 277 — 56
F-L 0-0 — 3-3
Penalties-yards 13-85 — 15-123

RUSHING – FPD: Harris 13-90; Joshua Raines 6-30; Howard: Raekwon Hughes 14-43; Jeremiah Kelly 5-31; Jalik Phillips 5-39; Sewell 7-32

PASSING – FPD: Cox 22-28-0 277; Howard: Vining 4-5-0 17; Sewell 6-13-2 39

RECEIVING – FPD: Moore 8-108; Arumaun Smith 5-50, Maurice Gordon 3-27, Robert Johnson 2-51; Howard: Javarsia Meadows 3-22; Vining 2-10

Records: FPD 1-0; Howard 0-2.

Next: FPD at Brookstone, 7:30 p.m., Friday; Howard at Central, 7 p.m., Friday.

 

GAME NOTES:

— FPD leads the young series against Howard 2-1 after Saturday’s 34-14 win. The Vikings bested the Huskies in overtime at home in 2014 before Howard returned the favor in 2015 at Mercer 38-17.

— The Vikings are now 7-2 in Saturday games. FPD has played a Saturday contest in six different seasons: 1973, 1982, 1991, 1992, 1997, and 2016. The Vikings went 3-1 in 1973 under former head coach Philip McLeroy followed by a 23-6 victory in 1982 over Tattnall under the late former head coach Bobby Brown. The Mark Farriba era saw two Saturday games against Westwood (one in 1991 and 1992), and FPD won 22-21 and 22-8, respectively. Before Saturday’s 34-14 victory over Howard in the current Greg Moore era, FPD’s last Saturday game came under former head coach Cater Pierce in a GHSA playoff loss to John Milledge 16-13.

— FPD head football coach Greg Moore picked up career win 122 on Friday night. Moore is the all-time leader in wins in program history.

— The Vikings are now 1-1 all-time in neutral site contests after Saturday’s win against Howard at Mercer.

— The Viking defense forced Howard into five turnovers: three fumbles and two interceptions. All three fumbles were recovered by FPD.

— Both teams combined for 28 penalties and and 228 yards in Saturday’s contest.

— Dane Wiggins had three punts in Saturday’s win. Two of three boots were good for 30+ yards.

— In the third quarter, the Vikings scored 21 points in the final 4:50.

— Saturday’s contest was part of a double-header sponsored by the Macon Touchdown Club. The event, The Macon Touchdown Club Middle Georgia Classic, featured four teams: Central, Mount de Sales, FPD and Howard. Central defeated Mount de Sales 48-14 in the first game of the double-header.

 

LINKS:

— Cox Leads FPD to Romp Over Howard (Macon Telegraph)

— 13WMAZ Coverage

POST-GAME VIDEOS:

Post-Game Prayer

Jr. WR Titus Moore

Jr. RB’s Robert Johnson and C.J. Harris

Jr. QB Dalton Cox

Head Coach Greg Moore