Group of Vidalia players hard at work with summer conditioning
VIDALIA — Daniel Perrault doesn’t need a reminder about Vidalia High School’s recent struggles in football.
The Vikings’ struggles are one of the main reasons the rising junior lineman is at the school’s field house every weekday for summer conditioning.
“The program has been down, and I’m trying to help bring it back up,” Perrault said. “We need people who are dedicated.”
Perrault, along with a handful of his fellow teammates, has been participating in summer workouts ever since the school let out for the summer, head coach Gary Parnham Jr. said. Unfortunately for the team, not everyone has been able to make it as consistently as Perrault and the others.
“It’s been a tough summer with so many playing basketball and baseball,” Parnham said. “It’s been a struggle getting them up here. It’s hard during the summer, because some of them are going on vacation and doing other sports, but the ones that have been here have been working their tails off.”
Parnham said players like Perrault and rising sophomore Trey Lowery have quietly gone about as establishing themselves as leaders who lead by example.
“Daniel has been here every day — he beats me here most times,” Parnham said. “He’s not a ‘rah rah’ kid, but he’ll lead by example. Trey’s another one who’s at the door when I pull up.”
Even though Vidalia has struggled in recent seasons, Perrault said he expects that to change this year. From what he’s seen, the players are much more dedicated than past groups, and Perrault said that kind of dedication was missing from recent Viking teams.
“They haven’t cared and didn’t try their best or go all four quarters like they should have,” Perrault said of the past groups. “This year’s group actually cares about the program and wants to try to win ball games. I’m shooting for state — that’s what I’m working toward.”
Lowery said the weight lifting and condition drills will help prepare the players for every aspect of the game.
“Weight lifting gets you physically ready for football, and when you’re running after someone or doing a play, you won’t run out of breath so easily because of conditioning,” Lowery said.
Like Perrault, Lowery said he expects the Vikings to surprise people this season.
“I think we’ll do better,” Lowery said. “We have boys coming up from the junior high that will do pretty good. Our team has a really good attitude.”
If there’s any threat to improvement, it’s the lack of participation in summer workouts from a good chunk of the roster, Parnham said. But he said just because a player isn’t there now doesn’t mean he won’t play in the fall.
“The guys here are making themselves better and getting stronger, so they definitely have an advantage (in starting) over the ones not here,” Parnham said. “That’s not to say the others don’t have a chance — they definitely have a chance — but they’ll have a slight advantage.”
Perrault, for one, said he doesn’t think the lack of participation will hurt the Vikings in the long run.
“It shouldn’t affect us much,” he said. “We’re going to work a lot harder during the school year when everyone has time. I’m not worried about that at all.”
The Vikings don’t begin fall practice until Aug. 12, and Parnham said he’s not thrilled about the late start.
“I don’t know what the logic behind it is,” Parnham said. “It puts us at a bad disadvantage, because 10 days later, we’re scrimmaging another team.
“We got our offense installed mostly in the spring, but we’re still going to have to review that stuff. It puts us in a rush mode, where we’re going to try to cram in a lot in a short amount of time.”
But Parnham said he understands his school isn’t the only one that has to deal with the late start to the fall.
“Every team in Louisiana has to do it, so there’s no use in fussing about it,” he said. “You just have to get the job done.”
Vidalia will host its annual jamboree Aug. 31.