There have been some classic running back matchups through the years when Ferriday and Vidalia battled it out on the football field.

Add another one in 2021.

Ferriday’s Jaquarius Davis and Vidalia’s Nickaloes Banks put on quite a show Friday night in the Trojans’ 48-34 win over the Vikings at Melz Field.

It was right up there with Ferriday’s Nathaniel Williams against Vidalia’s Keith Woodside; Vidalia’s Eddie Ray Jackson battling Ferriday’s Keith Whitley; Joe Ray Hooker of Vidalia and Ferriday’s Richard Bates’ Ferriday’s Darnell Jones against Vidalia’s Roger Woodfork, Vidalia’s Prentis Jenkins against Ferriday’s Robert James Lee; Vidalia’s Daniel Mays going against Ferriday’s Corey Gordon; Vidalia’s Michael Randall vs. Ferriday’s Brennan Smith and Vidalia’s Demack Bates against Ferriday’s Montario Tennessee.

Friday night, Davis, with his speed, quickness and quick cuts finished with 248 yards on 23 carries with a 70-yard kickoff touchdown for four scores.

Banks, with his quick burst and strong lower body trudging out 147 yards on 19 carries and a touchdown.

For most of the game, this contest was back and forth.

Ferriday pulled away late, taking advantage of Viking miscues.

Back in August when Vidalia defeated Ferriday 6-0 in the Vidalia Jamboree, Viking head coach Michael Norris made the comment, “We know this is not the same Ferriday team we will see in Week 10.”

Indeed. 

The Ferriday passing game was non-existent for the early part of the season until Jytavis Holmes was eligible and quarterback and former quarterback Sharone Finister gave the Trojans a much-needed big-play wide receiver.

Losing four weeks before the season to COVID-19 kept Ferriday from becoming the team they were at the end of the season.

The addition of quarterback Jytavis Holmes was huge, also. Holmes missed most of the first of the season for disciplinary reasons.

“We were able to do more things,” Smith said. “It was a rough start and we were always trying to catch up. We were missing quality reps and not being able to gel as a team.”

Meanwhile, COVID-19 was just as devastating to Vidalia, which had to forfeit games to Jonesboro-Hodge and LaSalle because of a case.

I truly believe both cases cost the Vikings and Trojans a playoff position.

“If we could have won one of those games or both it would have made us 2-2 or 3-1 and the kids would have approached the rest of the season totally different,” said Vidalia coach Michael Norris.

The Vikings were two spots short of the playoffs before the Ferriday game, while the Trojans were four positions short at 36.

Looking at the brackets, I can honestly say Ferriday and Vidalia are better than about five teams that will be playing next Friday.

But that’s water under the bridge.

So we were left with Ferriday versus Vidalia for the Concordia Classic.

But don’t look for future Trojan-Viking contests to end the year for both schools.

Ferriday and Vidalia both left it all on the field before putting away their gear.

Next year, District 2-2A will be made up of Ferriday, Vidalia, Beekman Charter, General Trass, Madison, Mangham, Oak Grove and Rayville.

“Our district just got a lot tougher,” said Vidalia head coach Michael Norris.

And a lot longer travel-wise. Hopefully games at Oak Grove and General Trass in Lake Providence will not be road games in the same year.

I’m anxiously awaiting next season, and the next Concordia Classic.

Especially the next battle of outstanding running backs. 

That alone is usually worth the price of admission.

  

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