Vidalia High School sophomore Joshua Pace, left, defends Cathedral junior Jardarius Anderson during a 7-on-7 practice against Cathedral at Vidalia High School Thursday. (Sam Gause | The Natchez Democrat)
Vidalia High School sophomore Joshua Pace, left, defends Cathedral junior Jardarius Anderson during a 7-on-7 practice against Cathedral at Vidalia High School Thursday. (Sam Gause | The Natchez Democrat)

Vidalia High competes in first 7-on-7 of summer vs. Cathedral

Published 12:04am Friday, July 25, 2014

VIDALIA — The Vidalia Vikings took part in their first 7-on-7 competition last night against the Cathedral Green Wave, and Vidalia head coach Jeff Hancock’s message of unity was on display for the fans that gathered to watch the event.

The Vikings and Green Wave began the event with one half of the field featuring playmakers competing against each other followed by the skill players on the far side getting a rep. Back-and-forth each side alternated before before both teams played the full length of the field in a traditional 7-on-7 format. As the Green Wave lined up on offense towards the end of the first simulation, Viking cornerback Julian Wilson made an interception that caused an ovation from his sideline.

“I met with a group of guys before we came out, and I could tell they were all fired up,” Hancock said.

Any play Vidalia made caused an eruption of clapping and hollering from the Vikings’ sideline, showcasing the Vikings’ new attitude Hancock has encouraged all summer long.

Julian wasn’t the only Viking creating noise Thursday night. Julius Wilson, Julian’s older brother, swatted the ball out of the air numerous times from the safety position.

“Who’s that safety?” Cathedral quarterback Alex Weadock asked a teammate. “That safety is quick.”

Julius, who joined the team last week, is the newest member of the Viking football team, and if the name sounds familiar, that’s because he was the Vikings’ second leading scorer in basketball last season. He opted not to play football the past two seasons, but once his brother Julian reached high school, Julius decided to give football another go.

Vidalia High School sophomore Rodriquez White catches the ball during a 7-on-7 practice against Cathedral at Vidalia High School Thursday. (Sam Gause | The Natchez Democrat)
Vidalia High School sophomore Rodriquez White catches the ball during a 7-on-7 practice against Cathedral at Vidalia High School Thursday. (Sam Gause | The Natchez Democrat)

“It’s fun playing with him,” Julian said. “I played with him when I was in sixth grade and he was in eighth grade, and now that I came up to the high school, he decided it was time to play.”

If you were to classify each brother by one sport, Julian said he would be football and Julius would be basketball, though both brothers now play each sport. Julian prefers the contact football provides, while Julius prefers scoring points and blocking shots on the hardwood. Julius said he gave football a second chance to keep in shape during the offseason, and after he made a few plays against Cathedral in the 7-on-7, he’s thinking about making a long-term commitment to the football team.

“I love it,” Julius said. “I really see myself playing all year. I wanted to stay in shape, and I just wanted to see what I could do.”

Hancock said the 7-on-7 event against Cathedral would most likely be the Vikings’ only 7-on-7 of the summer. The new head coach said his Vikings were behind on the football aspect of things, but he wanted his team to bulk up over the summer, which he believed they had.

“We haven’t done a whole lot of football because we’ve been doing more lifting,” Hancock said. “I felt we were lacking in strength so that was our main priority this summer.”

The Vikings have a scheduled scrimmage against LaSalle High School on August 21, one day before Cathedral kicks off the season at St. Aloysius.

Julius plans on playing in the scrimmage, as the basketball player couldn’t help but reconnect with his passion for football and his teammates Thursday night.

“This is my family here,” Julius said. “I’m going to do whatever it takes and give whatever I can to help out.”