Delta Charter totaled 354 yards in total offense in its season opener Friday at D’Arbonne Woods in Famerville, posting a 28-14 win over the Timberwolves.
“I am super proud of our guys,” said Delta Charter head coach Blake Wheeler. ’We had a clean game for the most part and our defense was flying all over the field. Coach (Tommy) Tharp always has a tough scheme to defend, but our guys did a good job on the edge showed discipline and stayed with their keys.”
Delta Charter jumped out on top early as Juvari Singleton passed 30 yards to a wide open Jared Barron down the middle for the first score of the season.
Payten Roberts, who rushed for 124 yards on 16 carries, added two TDs and a two-point conversion run for Delta Charter, while Singleton ran in another score.
Singleton finished 7-of-78 for 68 yards, and rushed for 122 yards on 15 carries.
“Our offensive line, led by Chase McGraw, blocked well all night,” Wheeler said. “D’Arbonne Woods has a big squad.”
Curtis Bullitts led the Storm defense with 10 tackles. Roberts added nine, while Jestin Garrison and Davis Cooper collected seven tackles.
Delta Charter hosts Delhi Thursday in its home opener.
The game was moved up a day because of a referee shortage.
Vidalia senior quarterback Sema’j Hayes passed for a career high 270 yards and three touchdowns as the Vikings opened the season with a 44-14 win over Sicily Island in Dee Faircloth Viking Stadium Friday.
But it was a play Hayes made on the first play of the game he talked about the most.
Hayes rolled to his left, lost his balance and fumbled the ball on his own 28-yard line with Sicily Island’s James Acker making the recovery.
“I have to take care of the football better and we have to get off to a better and quicker start,” Hayes said. “The offensive line and receivers did a great job. But we’ve got to pick it up. We’ve got a lot to learn from this game.”
Hayes finished 11-of-21 for 270 yards with an interception. He added one score on the ground, rushing the ball six times for 33 yards.
“Sema’j did a much better job in the second half,” said Vidalia coach Michael Norris. “I think that first fumble shook him up a bit. When he settled in, he made some nice passes. His touch on the football is getting better.”
Vidalia’s defense stopped Sicily Island after the turnover, forcing the ball over on downs at their own 16-yard line.
Runs of 14 and 11 by Hayes moved to the ball to near midfield.
Hayes then connected with Traveon Hill on a 25-yard pass play to the Sicily Island 19-yard line before a pass down the middle was tipped, but reeled in by Jalin Moody, who ran into the end zone for the first score of the game. The conversion failed leaving Vidalia with a 6-0 lead with 6:41 remaining in the first quarter.
Hill finished with four catches for 68 yards.
Vidalia went up 14-0 late in the quarter as Hayes hit Chris Brooks, who outran the Tiger defense to the end zone on a 61-yard TD play. Hayes passed to Hill on the conversion for a 14-point Viking advantage.
Vidalia’s next score came as Hayes hit Louis Jordan for a 50-yard TD pass play, but it was negated by a holding penalty.
Hayes passed to Hill for 26 yards to the Sicily Island 24, but the Vikings turned the ball over on downs.
With five minutes remaining in the first half, Hayes tossed his third TD pass of the night, finding Jordan on a 35-yard pass play. Hayes ran in the conversion for a 22-0 Vidalia lead.
Sicily Island’s Zyrian Dunbar returned the ensuing kickoff 78 yards to put the Tigers on the board. Javeion Robinson ran in the conversion to cut the Viking lead to 22-8.
Hayes intercepted a Sicily Island pass at his 10-yard line and returned it for a touchdown, but the score was negated by a block in the back penalty.
“I was tired, and then I looked back and saw there was a penalty,” Hayes said. “But we still scored on that possession.”
Nickaloes Banks finished off the drive with a 7-yard TD run.
The Vikings moved the ball down the field, aided by a pass inference penalty.
Hayes then passed 13 yards to Hill to the Vidalia 1-yard line where Hayes ran it in for the score.
The conversion failed, leaving the score at 36-8.
Sicily Island’s Gartarrius Cooper scored on a 14-yard run with 4:05 remaining to pull to within 36-14.
Hayes connected with Jordan on a 43-yard pass play to the Sicily Island one on Vidalia’s next possession, and Hayes passed to Jordan for the score. Davin Jackson ran in the conversion to complete the scoring.
Vidalia’s defense held Sicily Island to 47 rushing yards and 16 passing.
The Tigers missed playing in the Vidalia Jamboree on August 28 because of COVID issues.
“Vidalia has a really good team, and they are going to do well this year,” said Sicily Island head coach Curtis Shavers. “Not being able to practice and not being in condition made it tough for us. We had kids go down with cramps and nicks and that leads to a seventh or eighth grader having to come in. We don’t have depth, but we do have some talent. We just have to go badk to the drawing board and see what Coach (Ricky) Tolliver (Sr.) sees on the field and what we have to get better at.”
Norris said he felt his team came into the game flat.
“We made a lot of mistakes, and had too many penalties (10-104),” Norris said. “But I would rather have an imperfect win than play perfect and lose.”
Vidalia plays at Jena Friday.
The Vikings return home September 17 with a game against Jonesboro-Hodge.
Alexandria Senior High scored 28 points in the first quarter on its way to a 65-8 win over Ferriday Friday in Alexandria.
ASH quarterback Joe Bordelon tossed three touchdown passes.
Theron Johnson had a 45-yard punt return for a touchdown.
Abel Peterman kicked a 38-yard field goal for the home Trojans.
ASH led 51-0 at halftime.
Ferriday’s only score came late in the game on a 25-yard pass from Sharone Finister to Jaquarius Davis.
ASH was the No. 6 seed in Class 5A last year, defeating Slidell and Haughton easily in the first two rounds before upsetting No. 3 Zachary 31-28 in the quarterfinals.
ASH defeated West Monroe to reach the finals, where they fell to Acadiana 35-34 in the Class 5A title game.
“They have a very good ball club,” said Ferriday coach Stanley Smith. “They have a good quarterback, good receivers and the dominated the offensive and defensive lines.”
Despite the loss, Smith said he saw some positives from his inexperienced team.
“Our kids came to fight and never gave up,” Smith said, “I saw some bright spots. Chavo (Thomas) had a good game and the offensive line played hard. We just need to continue coaching them up.”
The Trojans host Bastrop Friday at Melz Field.
There was a lot to be excited about after Vidalia defeated Block and Ferriday in its own jamboree on August 27.
And the excitement continued as Vidalia opened its season with a 44-14 win over Sicily Island Friday night in Vidalia.
But, as you would have on most season-openers, there was a few things to be concerned about after week one.
“Even with a jamboree, it was still the first game for our guys,” said Vidalia High head coach Michael Norris.
The Vikings fumbled the ball away twice, allowed two long kick returns, and had a few penalties stop drives.
But those things are correctable.
“We came out flat,” Norris said. “We can’t afford to that each game.”
After beating Block and Ferriday in its own jamboree six days earlier, the letdown was not too surprising -- to me at least..
And you have to also throw into the mix that Sicily Island almost always plays Vidalia tough no matter who appears to be the better team on paper.
It does seem kind of strange complaining about a 30-point Vidalia win considering the struggles the Vikings have had over the past five years excluding when Dee Faircloth led the Vikings to the quarterfinals in 2018.
Friday’s game at Jena will be a great measuring stick for where the Vikings are and where they can finish.
Jena was scheduled to play Rayville in its season-opener Friday, but Rayville had COVID issues which forced the game to not be played.
What was a bit humorous was Jena defensive coordinator Rob Faircloth, who was head coach at Vidalia in 2019 and was a long-time assistant, was sitting in the stands scouting the Vikings, while Rayville head coach Joseph Purvis, whose wife is from Vidalia, was in the end zone also scouting the Vikings.
Rayville in is Vidalia’s district and the two teams meet October 15 in Vidalia.
The district should be very interesting this year with Mangham upsetting Oak Grove Friday, while General Trass took care of business against Richwood.
Ferriday lost big to Class 5A Alexandria Senior High, which upset Zachary and West Monroe in the playoffs last year.
Whichever team wins District 2-2A this year will certainly have earned it.
Meanwhile, Delta Charter opended its season with an impressive win at D’Arbonne Woods.
I say impressive because that’s a long road trip, and first-year D’Arbonne Woods head coach Tommy Tharp has had success everywhere he has been, including at Mangham.
The Storm is playing a lot of young guys, but veterans such as Juvari Singleton, Payten Roberts, Jared Barron, Chase McGraw and Curtis Bullitts are showing great leadership by example and by teaching.
Delta Charter opens its tough district schedule Thursday at home against Delhi.
Having a challenge in a district contest for Delta Charter is kind of like saying it’s hot outside. District 2-1A consists of other teams such as Ouachta Chrstian, St. Frederick, Oak Grove and Cedar Creek. Luckilly, re-classification is just around the corner.
Delta Charter visits Cedar Creek on October 29. Cedar Creek is led by former West Ouachita head coach Matt Middelton, who accepted the Delta Charter head coaching job, only to change his mind a few days later. Fortunately, we’ve got a long way to go until that match-up and many others.
Welcome back football.