'Locked in': 'Cats erupt for season-high 56 against Jaguars

·4 min read

Sep. 17—VALDOSTA — The No. 9 Valdosta Wildcats (5-0) earned their second consecutive shutout with a 56-0 Homecoming win over Coral Glades (0-3) Friday night.

With their stingy defense shutting down the Jaguars' offense, the 'Cats got an even bigger lift from its offense, posting a season-best 482 total yards.

For a second straight game, the 'Cats held an opponent to negative yardage rushing as the Jaguars rushed 26 times for -30 yards.

"I thought the guys were locked in," Valdosta head coach Shelton Felton said. "We've talked about growing every game, getting better and better. I tell everybody, we're still a young team — three returning starters, but the focus is to get better and better every week, get more mature, handle what they can handle and like I always say, control the controllables and play to the standard of Wildcat football."

Sophomore quarterback Todd Robinson turned in his best game as a Wildcat Friday — completing 8 of 11 passes for 134 yards with three touchdowns while rushing three times for 131 yards and two more touchdowns.

Robinson scored the first two touchdowns for Valdosta; a 26-yard burst with 5:27 left in the first quarter, followed by an 89-yard scamper down the Coral Glades sideline to make it 14-0 with 1:13 left in the quarter.

"Our goal was to come out and throw the ball," Felton said of the offense. "We felt like the way they played defense, we had a chance to take shots and get things going. The key is to get Todd going. Once Todd's going, you see he made a couple plays with his legs and throwing the ball. If he's playing at that level, we're hard to beat in my opinion."

Jalen Whitehead caught three passes for 76 yards. Shak Wright had a 12-yard touchdown catch while Jontavious McGriff caught a 21-yard touchdown from Robinson with 2:26 left before halftime to put Valdosta ahead 42-0.

A 3-play, 45-yard drive culminated in a 15-yard touchdown from senior Charles Williams with 35 seconds left before halftime made it 49-0 and with a running clock the entire second half, the 'Cats found the end zone once more as backup quarterback Prince Jean powered into the end zone on second-and-goal from the 1-yard line with 7:14 left.

Defensively, Valdosta held Coral Glades to just 31 yards of total offense. The longest run the Jaguars had all night went for five yards while the longest pass plays went for 11 yards.

"We're going to be hard to run the ball on," Felton said of the defense. "We're playing together. We're teaching 11 hats to the ball. We preach it every day and that's our standard here. We're going to play great defense and we're going to stop the run."

Senior cornerback Tim Roberson continued his impressive start to the season with a pick-six with 11:47 to go in the second quarter. The interception was Roberson's sixth of the season — giving him an interception in every game thus far for the 'Cats.

"I can't say enough about Tim Roberson," Felton said "As a coach, I'm proud of him because he's worked for everything he's got. He's worked himself into a great player. He's studied film and done everything we've asked him to do. God has blessed him and he's making plays for us."

UP NEXT

The 'Cats host the McEachern Indians (3-2) from Region 3-7A next Friday in their final non-region game. McEachern defeated Tucker 51-20 Friday night for its third straight victory.

Though the 'Cats have not been met with much resistance through the first five games with only a shutout win over defending Class 5A state champion Warner Robins to their credit, Felton embraces the challenge the Indians present in Week 6.

"It's going to be a great test. Coach Franklin (Stephens) does a great job up that way," Felton said of the Indians. "McEachern is a 7A team. Just like us, they're powerful and they do a lot of good things. It's going to be a great challenge for us and we're looking forward to the challenge. We can't wait to play them next Friday."

Shane Thomas is the sports editor at the Valdosta Daily Times.