Faircloth looking forward to a better season

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 8, 1999

After suffering through a 2-8 season, the last thing Dee Faircloth needed his 1998 football team to do was get out of the gate slow.

After starting out 1-5, it was actually a loss that may have turned things around for the Vikings.

The Vikings led Ferriday 22-6 in the fourth quarter before the Trojans scored four touchdowns in the final period for a 32-30 win.

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Vidalia then went on to win three straight District 3-2A games and capture the district. Vidalia defeated Delhi 59-20 in the first round of the playoffs before falling to South Cameron 9-8 in a second round game.

&uot;We started out with high expectations and then kind of got knocked to the canvas,&uot; Faircloth said. &uot;The first seven weeks we knew we weren’t playing but one double-A team. We knew we might take it on the chin, but we were just hoping to get to district in good shape. The Ferriday game was kind of a springboard for us. Even though we lost it, I think that game kind of made us a little bit. We got into district and got into a roll.

&uot;The biggest thing we had to do was to keep from getting down mentally because of the losses last year,&uot;&160;Faircloth added. &uot;But we had pretty good senior leadership.&uot;

After a subpar running game last year, Faircloth had two backs go over 1,000 yards this season.

Senior Burl Burns carried the ball 224 times for 1,273 yards and 18 TDs, while junior Dariel Mays had 120 carries for 1,129 yards and nine touchdowns.

&uot;That makes a lot of difference in our system,&uot; Faircloth said. &uot;That’s why they call us `Tailback U’. This year we had a two-headed tailback.&uot;

Vidalia’s defense also got tougher.

&uot;Our defense did a good job all year, but they really stepped it up a notch when we got into district,&uot;Faircloth said. &uot;Playing bigger schools made them tougher.&uot;

Faircloth returns nine starters on offense and eight on defense.

Vidalia sophomore quarterback Jarrett Hoffpauir completed 47 of 95 passes for 613 yards and four touchdowns. He threw seven interceptions. Hoffpauir also rushed for 74 yards on 19 carries.

Junior Ronald Ellis caught 10 passes for 207 yards and two touchdowns.

Defensively, junior Leren Curry holds down a front line position after making 49 solo tackles and adding 39 assists. He also had five sacks.

Junior linebacker Justin Seals had 76 solo stops, 47 assists and two sacks, while senior linebacker Donald Hooper collected 61 solo tackles, 55 assists and two sacks.

Junior defensive back Chris Kennedy had 32 solo tackles, 27 assists and an interception, and Burns, who had 39 solos, 26 assists and an interception.

Vidalia drops Haynesville and West Feliciana next year and picks up Ouachita Christian and Newellton.

Crowville, McCall and Ferriday join Vidalia’s district, as Buckeye moves up to 3A.

&uot;We’ve got 24 seniors coming back and 32 lettermen,&uot; Faircloth said. &uot;We’re definitely looking forward to the spring.&uot;