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Freshman steps up for Vikings

VIDALIA — In just the second week of the season, Vidalia High School freshman Jonterrius Townsend was thrust into the spotlight.

When starting quarterback Michael Whitley went down with a right knee injury against Delhi Charter Sept. 7, Townsend slid over from running back to quarterback in Whitley’s absence.

After Whitley reinjured his knee last week against Jena High School, Townsend is now the Vikings’ starting quarterback for the foreseeable future.

“When Michael went down versus Delhi, I felt like I had to step up,” Townsend said.

And it’s been quite an adjustment for Townsend, even though he played quarterback some in junior high.

“It’s tougher,” Townsend said. “The game is faster. It’s mean and physical. I just have to work hard at practice and do things in practice that I need to do in the games.”

Tonight, Townsend and the rest of his teammates will look to pull off a road win against Marksville High School (2-4, 1-0). It helps that Vidalia (1-5, 0-1) was able to secure its first win this season against Baker High School Sept. 28, but Townsend said the team isn’t satisfied.

“We feel good about our first win, but we have to keep going and work harder to get where we need to be,” Townsend said. “We did get the monkey off our backs, but we’re not satisfied.”

Hard work is something head coach Gary Parnham Jr. has been preaching all season, and he said the team’s morale has remained high despite the record not being ideal.

“It doesn’t seem like they’re down,” Parnham said. “We’ve been pleased with their attitude.”

The positive attitude is a result of good team chemistry among his players, Parnham said.

“This bunch has a work ethic,” Parnham said. “They don’t mind working hard. They see the mistakes that are made, and they’re trying to work hard to make it better.”

At the same time, Parnham said everyone has to fight to keep from getting down because of the 1-5 record.

“I’m not going to say the players don’t look at (the record), because they do,” Parnham said. “That’s human nature, especially when you’re participating in something that’s competitive.

“At the same time, they know the only way to change that is to work hard. It’s a team thing with the coaches and players — we all want to work hard.”

Parnham said Marksville will look to utilize its speedy athlete against the Vikings tonight.

“They have plenty of team speed and good skill people,” Parnham said. “They run the spread offense, just like Baker did. We’re used to seeing it, but they’re more organized than Baker was.”

Kickoff is at 7 tonight at Marksville.