Georgia High School Football Daily Spotlight: Peachtree Ridge’s Bill Ballard talks Lowndes, national ranking, more

Tonight’s big Week 2 game is in Valdosta, where No. 1 Lowndes will play No. 3 Peachtree Ridge in a matchup between nationally ranked teams. Lowndes is ranked in four national polls. National Prep Football puts the Vikings at No. 3. Peachtree Ridge is No. 7 in the RivalsHigh 100.

A live broadcast of the game, which starts at 8 p.m., can be found on www.thevikingvoice.com.

GHSF Daily spoke with Peachtree Ridge head coach Bill Ballard on Thursday. Here were his thoughts about …

The best team in the state: “I went to the Corky Kell Classic and watched the teams there, and I’ve seen several on film. I’d have to say Lowndes is probably the best I’ve seen on film, and I would say Grayson is real close. The thing that both have over some other teams is their lines of scrimmage. Both are big and fast on both sides of the ball. That’s an advantage when you have equal skill players. Those are the two best lines I’ve seen on both sides early in the season. I also know Jeff Herron very well, and his team [Camden County] will be reckoned with when it gets later in the season. And I think our region is very strong. Obviously North Gwinnett looked pretty good against Prattville. There’s a lot of teams with potential.”

Tough pre-region games: “It’s kind of like a playoff game, but it doesn’t count as one. It’s a dry run of what it would be like. When I was at Lakeside [of Atlanta in the 1990s], I was with Coach [Phil] Lindsey, and we traveled a couple of times in the playoffs when we hadn’t in the regular season, and we felt like that hurt us going into a small town with a hostile crowd. We felt like we needed to schedule some harder teams. I did that at Tucker. We went to Cairo back-to-back. We looked at some other schools, what Coach Pilcher and Coach Busbee had done [coach Ed Pilcher of Thomas County Central and Bainbridge and coach Buzz Busby of Statesboro]. Those were the kinds of things they did.”

Lowndes’ success: “They’ve got a large student population in place where they really take football seriously and give tremendous support. It’s real important in that town. That school, and Valdosta in the same county, that’s the cornerstone of Georgia high school football. You think about the tradition Valdosta has, and Lowndes has been the one that’s picked up that torch recently. That’s a world of tradition down there.”

Region 1-AAAAA: “Football in Region 1-AAAAA is probably the best region in the state traditionally. If you’re going to win state, you’ve got to go through 1-AAAAA at some point.”

Peachtree Ridge 2008 vs. 2009: “I wouldn’t’ say we’re better, but in this point in the season, we’re ahead of where we were. That has a lot to do with having a lot more experience playing. We have a heavy senior class. Last year, we had good players, but a smaller senior class. The majority of our starters now are seniors. We’ve got players coming back who have played a lot of games. They’re experienced these kinds of games.”

National rankings: “That’s nice that people around the country are thinking about Peachtree Ridge and Lowndes and Georgia in general. People recognize that Georgia football is on the top level of states. It’s good because college coaches come in to see our players and programs, and it’s going to allow more of our kids to use football as a vehicle to get a degree, and that’s what we’re really here for.”

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15 comments Add your comment

SportsFan31313

September 4th, 2009
5:31 pm

Lowndes County will Beat Peachtree Ridge….

Paco

September 4th, 2009
8:46 pm

Doubt it!!!!

new guy

September 5th, 2009
1:02 am

Paco,Do you still doubt it? I bet Ballard (Your Coach, dummy) knows who’s the better team now, after their 34 point drubbing at Lowdnes’ hands.

MumbleJumble

September 5th, 2009
3:18 pm

Even tho Lowndes soundly defeated the Lions, I still think Peachtree has the capabilities to return to the playoff and be very strong. They fell behind quickly at Lowndes and the Vikings are great at not letting a team back into a game once they have you behind. Coach Mac knows that if you are ahead and the other team doesnt score, YOU WIN.. And you will hear him say that over and over.. Control-Control….. And Lowndes seems to be able to control a games speed very well… Great game Peachtree.. You will be back, and Lowndes will be waiting for you again…

Kirk Smith

September 6th, 2009
6:43 pm

Don’t anyone remember the Colquitt County Packers, sure they have been douwn but I think they have a great shot at winning the Region in 5A and
the possibility of winning the State Title with that famous coach Rush Popst.

K

September 9th, 2009
3:51 pm

Kirk Smith – Is Colquitt ready to beat Tift,Lowndes, and North Side?

Kirk Smith

September 10th, 2009
9:43 am

Yes,
As you know Tift is not as good as it has been in recent years and colquitt county always has given any team one heck of a game, but to answer your question, I think Colquitt County will beat Lowndes, Tift, and North Side; but even if it loses to Lowndes; Colquitt County will still be in the Playoffs and I really think that they will go to the State Finals, on the other hand with Northside W.R. and Colquitt County I think plays more Tougher teams than North Side in Recent Years and that Colquitt County will defect them this year with a whole new Team Outlook and a More aggressive Team Efforts that is put Forth toward all games they play.

Bobby

September 11th, 2009
3:26 am

Smith, I agree with you about the Colquitt County Packers and disagree, really since Colquitt County went to the State Championship in ‘94 under the state’s best Coach then Jim Hughes Moultrie has really not been effective, can they be YES with the right coach, under the new coach Rush Prospt, he has that image like hughes of Taking Colquitt County to new heights. But until they get pass Lowndes then I don’t really know because the Packers of Moultrie probably are the only one’s that have the ability to get lowndes because of the history they hold together, and ask The Valdosta Wild Cats, that Colquitt County Is capable of playing Spoiler easy in any successful football program.

James

September 11th, 2009
3:37 am

Colquitt County You Got Lowndes Next week and folks now this one is going to be a good one; because do not count the packers out because traditionally the Packers were the first one to take out the Valdosta Wildcats when everyon else had trouble and I tell you Colquitt County has got a very good, good team this year that is capable of going to the State Championship if they play the cards right, GO PACK, GO PACK.

Evan

September 11th, 2009
3:46 am

Lowndes 21 / Colquitt County 17
Being Nice Score may be higher

LHS Viking

September 13th, 2009
3:23 pm

There is no way Colquitt county will beat Lowndes this week,you are outmanned on all sides of the ball,you guys better stick to playing AA teams because you are in for a long season in region one,Rush Propst is not going to be able to help you.Lowndes is much better than last season,but don’t take my word for it,see it for yourself this friday.

Packer Fan

September 16th, 2009
7:54 pm

Hey LHS VIKINGS we respect the program over at lowndes, as you can recall that yall have had some down time over the years too; but I can tell you that I have confidence in my team and they will give lowndes county hell this friday!!!!As for us playing AA teams as I recall your Vikings has played what AAA teams that I can recall so HEY we are going to see what the Vikings have on both sides; because Our beloved Packers are going to show This State that we still got what it takes to beat lowndes county; because WE SPECIALIZE IN PLAYING SPOILER!!!!!!

Jake

September 16th, 2009
8:00 pm

LHS Vikings; Packer do have the best chance of beating yall and if your team does win it do not think it is going to be a blowout; So GO Packer, Go Packers Go, I am a ex-moultrie fan but still listen to the Pack; and I wish the Packers All the Luck!!!So do what you do best Pack when People put you down ;you always come back strong at the End!!!

Charles Smith

September 16th, 2009
9:42 pm

Hello My brother Kirk Smith.. Lowdnes has a very strong football team for the past 10 years. Colquitt county has a shot of defeating the defending champions, but it will not be easy..In order for the Colquitt County Packers to defeat the Vikings is too play solid football and not to make any mistakes. They can’t afford making any mistakes on a great team like the Vikings.

Kirk Smith

September 17th, 2009
3:55 am

Hello Charles my brother; yes you are right Colquitt County has to bring it on strong and do not fall apart on split ends playing these tough guys; but I know it is not going to be easy but you know our history here in Moultrie that we are often labeled the underdog but somehow history may repeat itself of our being underrated that, that along sometimes makes this teams propel itself of become a very difficult team to deal with; I will be at the game this week; going with Dad and Mom; you should come out because this will be on heck of a game for us win or lose.