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Faircloth pulling for Vikings over nephew

Vidalia High School’s Garrett Rehms recovers a fumble made during the Vikings’ 30-14 loss to Jena Oct. 5. Vidalia is set to host Caldwell Parish Friday night. (Lauren Wood \ The Natchez Democrat)

VIDALIA — Former Vidalia High School head coach Dee Faircloth sort of has a dilemma on his hands.

On the one hand, he wants to cheer on his Vikings. On the other hand, Vidalia’s opponent Friday, Caldwell Parish High School, is coached by his nephew, Bo Barton.

Still, Faircloth insisted that the choice was easy.

“I’ll pull for my Vidalia people, but I hope he does good, too,” Faircloth said.

Though Faircloth usually breaks down game film for his nephew each week, he said he wouldn’t give Barton any tips on the Vikings.

There’s also a history between Barton and Faircloth that goes back to when Faircloth was coaching. The two would often square off when Barton was head coach at Rayville High School.

“The first two years we whipped them, and the next three years he whipped us,” Faircloth said.

Faircloth was also complimentary of Barton’s job with Caldwell, which is currently 6-2 on the season and 2-1 in district play.

“He’s done a good job over there,” Faircloth said. “He’s an excellent coach.”

Though Faircloth isn’t breaking down game film this week, current Vidalia head coach Gary Parnham Jr. said he wouldn’t have had any problem if Faircloth chose to give his opponent some pointers.

“That’s his kin folk,” Parnham said. “Coach Faircloth is one of the best people I’ve seen in breaking down tendencies. If you have a guy like that, it’s a good thing to have.”

New Vikings starting quarterback Stewart Mallory said he remembers a few things about Caldwell from last season’s 31-6 loss that should give him an idea of what to expect.

“Last year they had a really good defensive line,” Mallory said. “Our line has to block well, but they have been better at blocking this year than in years past. They have some good defensive backs, so we’re just going to have to find guys who are open.”

Mallory started at quarterback for the Vikings last week against Avoyelles High School, and he played there the whole second half against Marksville High School Oct. 12. Though he’s mostly been at wide receiver in his high school career, Mallory said it hasn’t been a difficult adjustment.

“You just can’t think about it being too hard,” Mallory said. “I used to play quarterback when I was little, and I was going to play it in high school, but I started catching balls in practice and ended up at wide receiver.”

Parnham Jr. said he was impressed with Mallory’s performance in last week’s 74-34 loss to Avoyelles, along with the rest of the offense.

“He had a couple of interceptions, but he had some touchdown passes,” Parnham said. “Torrey Smith and Jonterrius Townsend ran the ball a little lower this week. We kind of came along a little with things we’ve been trying to do this year, and they finally clicked.”

The Vikings will have to fare better defensively this week, but with Caldwell running a spread offense, Parnham said he’s confident his defense can get the job done.

“We’ve had some success against spread teams,” Parnham said. “We’re not very big up front, so I don’t know what it is that’s allowed us to have that success, but we do like to mix up coverages on defense.”

Parnham also said he harkens back to a philosophy of former Vikings head coach Dee Faircloth when it comes to defense.

“It’s hard for a quarterback to throw when he’s on his back,” Parnham said. “We’re going to try to get to him.”

Kickoff is at 7 Friday night at Vidalia.