First thoughts at the end of the 2021 Vidalia Jamboree?
Welcome to the District 2-2A contender’s table, Vidalia High.
OK, it was a jamboree.
Then again, anytime Vidalia plays Ferriday, it is more than a jamboree.
I can remember in the 1980s and ‘90s when Vidalia versus Ferriday in the jamboree brought standing room crowds, three deep surrounding Dee Faircloth Viking Stadium.
Hurricane, volcano or earthquake would not have kept folks away back in those glory days. It’s a different time, and there are certainly justified reasons to stay away.
But for those who did, you missed a fun night of football.
The night started off with General Trass defeating Block 22-0. The Panthers were the surprise team of Class 2A last year, but they won’t surprise anyone this year.
General Trass quarterback Wydette Williams was in mid-season form from his incredible season last year.
General Trass lineman Andrae McMerchant reminds a lot of Dare Rosenthal, with his size and speed. McMerchant is 6-foot-3, 285 pounds and has received offers from Grambling and Louisiana-Monroe. And he’s only a junior.
General Trass shut out Ferriday 10-0 in the second one-quarter contest. A brief hard rain had spectators ducking for cover before it passed through 15 minutes later.
Ferriday looked exactly like a team that has had just over a week of real practices because of COVID-19 issues, and a team with a number of new starters.
The Trojans did not attempt to throw the ball much. Ferriday coaches were correcting players lining up wrong, and there were other typical jamboree mistakes such as low snaps and penalties for Ferriday.
General Trass head coach Tavario is definitely one of the top young head coaches in the state. And he realized that you can’t out everything into the results of one quarter of play against an opponent who hasn’t had a chance to really practice.
“We have to stop tackling by grabbling jerseys,” said. ‘We know it’s going to be a completely different Ferriday team we see down the road.”
In the third game of the night, Vidalia High defeated Block 24-6.
The Viking defense was incredible with its swarming defenders tackling Bear players for losses much of the contest.
And Sem’j Hayes threw a touchdown pass to Chris Brooks that was a dart. The 40-yard pass was well-covered, but Hayes put the ball in the only place he could with an impressive bullet strike.
Nickolaes Banks stood up as the next outstanding running back in Viking history with some hard running, breaking tackles and running past people.
Block coach Benny Vault certainly knows his coaches have their work cut out. There were good plays made by Bear players, but the protection on offense, among other parts of the game must improve greatly to compete against the likes of Logansport.
And then came the finale.
Vidalia held the ball for the first five minutes of its game with Ferriday being forced to punt. A nice return by.Sharone Finister to the Vidalia 40 gave the Trojans good field position.
Vidalia stopped Ferriday at its own 22.
Vidalia was its own worst enemy on most of its drives with low snaps from center.
A positive play would be followed by a negative play.
Facing third and 10 from its own 22, Hayes took a low snap and took off down the left sideline all the way to the Ferriday 48.
Vidalia head coach Michael Norris noticed his center was dragging the snap instead of lifting it. The snaps were perfect from there.
Hayes hit Brooks with another dart to the Ferriday 22.
Hayes competed a pass to Louis Jordan to the Ferriday 8-yard line.
Following a time out, Hayes rolled a bit to his right and drilled a pass into the end zone to Traveon Hill who made the catch as the clock hit 0:00, leading to Viking celebration.
Ferriday beat Vidalia 70-0 last year during the regular season, and the number 70 was mentioned several times from the Viking sideline before the two teams kicked off in the final game.
The win was a huge shot of confidence for the Vikings.
Meanwhile, Ferriday coaches had no trouble getting the attention of their players in the post-game huddle.
It should be an interesting first week of action Friday judging by the jamboree.
And take my word for it — it wasn’t just a jamboree.