Vidalia High has had a rough football season to date. That’s why it was important for the Viking seniors to walk away from Dee Faircloth Viking Stadium with a win in their final regular season home game.
Vidalia overcome a 20-0 deficit to defeat Madison 34-20.
“That felt good,” said senior Viking lineman Gabe Bourke. “We just kept fighting. It was all about the next play.”
On its second possession, the Jaguars went 67 yards on seven plays with Cory Moore taking it in from eight yards out. Madison quarterback Jeremiah Marshall ran in the conversion.
Madison got on the board again midway through the second quarter after Jaguar lineman Logan Hughes stole the ball from a Viking running bak and ran down to the Vidalia 9-yard line.
Moore scored on the next play, giving Madison a 14-0 lead.
An interception by Marshall at the Vidalia 36-yard line went for a touchdown, but was called back after Viking lineman James Brixey was blindsided and forced to leave the game for the remainder of the contest. Brixey did not suffer a serious injury.
On the next play, Moore went 77 yards for the score to give Madison a 20-0 advantage.
Vidalia quarterback Sema’J Hayes completed passes to Chris Brooks and Traveon Moore to key a 65-yard, 7-play drive that ended with Hayes hitting a wide open Hill over the middle for the score with 48 seconds remaining in the first half. The conversion failed and the Vikings went into the locker room trailing 20-6.
“That touchdown energized us,” Norris said.”it gave us a lot of momentum. I challenged our defense not to let them score again. They had basically scored on two long plays. I challenged our offense to score at least two touchdowns.”
Vidalia’s John Jones recovered a Mangham fumble at the Jaguar 20-yard line early in the third period. Seven plays later, Hayes completed a 3-yard pass to Hill for the score. Hayes ran in the conversion to bring the Vikings to within 20-14 with 6:44 remaining in the third period.
Hayes finished 12-23 for 106 yards with two interceptions and two touchdowns.
Hill caught three catches 27 yards and two touchdowns.
“I knew I could get open and Sema’j got the ball to me,” Hill said.
Madison was forced to punt from its own 14-yard line. The kick was rolling along the Madison sideline when Chris Brooks picked It up down the sideline to the Jaguar 1-yard line.
But on the next play, Toby Johnson of Madison intercepted a pass in the end zone.
“Sema’j told me he thought he saw something,” Norris said. “He thought Chris had scored and we were going fo two.”
Madison faked a punt from its 14-yard line as Quan Davis raced 21 yards to the Dragon 35-yard line with 2:05 remaining in the third period.
Vidalia held and marched down the field on its next possession.
Nickaloes Banks then put Vidalia ahead for the first time in the game on the third play of the fourth quarter with a 10-yard run. Hayes ran in the conversion to give the Vikings a 22-20 lead.
Banks carried the ball eight times for 41 yards and two touchdowns.
Another fake punt attempt from its own 29-yard line was stuffed by the Vikings with 9:29 to play. Hayes then passed 24 yards to Brooks to put the Vikings up 28-20 with 8:40 remaining.
The Viking defense held and Vidalia put the game away as Hayes ran 18 yards to the Jaguar 7-yard line before Banks scored his second touchdown on a 7-yard run.
Madison coach Milton Green was ejected from the game in the third quarter.
“Over what I don’t know,” Green said. “It was just tough to get a call.”
Norris also had a tough time getting responses from the head referee after questionable calls against the Vikings.
A horse collar call in front of the Viking bench in which the Viking defender pulled the Jaguar ballcarrier down by the front of his jersey drew the ire of all Vidalia coaches on the bench, as well as Vidalia fans in the stands.
Norris was also questioning the play clock as Madison ran off several plays that appeared to be longer than 40 seconds.
The 40-second clocks in the end zone were not working.
Vidalia was also without offensive coordinator Josh Loy, who was out with double pneumonia.
“It was tougher on the kids than on me,” Norris said. “I went back into my offensive coordinator mode. The kids were having to adjust to my rhythm calling plays. They were able to finally do that after a bit.”
Vidalia ends its season at Ferriday Friday.