New Faces, Different Places: Zach Grage heads up Highway 84 to lead Lowndes Football

New head coach Zach Grage is coming into a program that already has a winning culture.
New head coach Zach Grage is coming into a program that already has a winning culture.(WALB)
Published: Aug. 9, 2022 at 12:10 AM EDT
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LOWNDES COUNTY, Ga. (WCTV) - The Lowndes Vikings are year in and year out one of the best teams in our area. A rich tradition, a hotbed for talent in the state of Georgia, and expectations of winning championships every year. That’s what was so appealing to former Thomasville head coach Zach Grage. Grage heads into his first season as head coach ready to take on the challenge.

It’s 6:55AM in Lowndes County. The sun is just rising over Martin Stadium. The quiet calm of a usual Monday morning disrupted by the sounds of Vikings Football.

A new era in the Concrete Palace. Fresh off leading the Thomasville Bulldogs to a State Runner-Up finish, Zach Grage heads up Highway 84 to lead the Lowndes Vikings Football Program. An easy decision according to the new man in charge.

“It’s the best job in the state, hands down,” Grage said, “I don’t think there’s any argument. It’s a destination job that my wife and our family looked at. We didn’t expect it to necessarily come open at the time that it did, but when it did, it’s one of those that you can’t bypass because you never know when you’ll get that opportunity again.”

Grage says the transition has been easy and smooth. The coaches and players are receptive to what he’s aiming to bring to an already successful program. It’s part of what makes Lowndes so special.

“The people here have been fantastic. That’s one of the reasons we circled this place. The people here and the resources you have to make this a football town is special,” Grage said, “Then you add the football portion of it--the coaches and kids have been fantastic. They love this place and it’s been easy to implement the football portion into that.”

Ah, yes--the football portion. Body language, energy, physicality, tempo, and doing all things in a first class manner. Those are Grage’s keys to his way of doing things. Coming off a 10-3 season for Lowndes, a winning culture is already in place. Grage knows the pressure to win, and win now, is a privilege.

“The expectations are always going to be championships,” Grage said, “If you’re not here to win titles whether it’s region titles or state titles--Region titles are nice. The fans here deserve home games. That’s what they come for and that’s what our job is-- to put the best product on the field. However, then you want to be playing game 15 and win that last one.”

Of course, then there’s the Winnersville Classic. A game that Grage has never been a part of. A game with added intrigue as he and Valdosta Head Coach Shelton Felton coached together in the past. Grage knows the importance of it, and he’s excited to take part.

“You always have heard about it. I’ve been in big games here on the Colquitt County sideline, but against Valdosta, the extra incentive is going to be unbelievable,” Grage concluded, “Then you add in the Shelton Felton effect. Me and him have a great friendship, but we understand it’s not about us. It’s about Lowndes, it’s about this football game, and this football team.”

Lowndes Football opens up the season at home against American Heritage out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. That game will be Saturday, August 20th at 8:00PM.

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