Faircloth: ’99 football team one of best

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 8, 1999

Vidalia High’s bid for a state football championship came up short in 1999, but there were not many more disappointments in a banner 10-2 season that saw the Vikings advance to the Class 2A state regionals in the playoffs.

&uot;We had a great bunch of kids,&uot; said Vidalia High head football coach Dee Faircloth. &uot;They did a great job all year long. This was probably one of the most enjoyable groups I’ve had to work with in 32 years and may have been the best ball club overall as far as offense and defense.&uot;

Vidalia finished its regular season at 9-1, defeating Ferriday 16-0 in its final game to go a perfect 4-0 in District 3-2A.

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&uot;I didn’t figure we would finish with that kind of record with the schedule we had,&uot; Faircloth said. &uot;But our kids met the challenge.&uot;

Vidalia defeated East Beauregard 47-14 in the first round of the playoffs before losing 31-20 to Christian Life in the second round on the road.

Vidalia was led by senior running back Dariel Mays, who carried on the Viking tradition of excellent running backs by rushing for 2,265 yards, averaging 8.1 yards a carry. He also scored 33 touchdowns and accumulated 236 total points. Mays also caught 27 passes for 495 yards and two touchdowns.

&uot;I realized Dariel could be special when he came back from a broken hand and played Buckeye in a big test for us last year,&uot; Faircloth said. &uot;We were struggling and Dariel took the ball up the middle, hit up in there and got knocked back, but kept his feet moving and went 90-something yards for a touchdown,&uot; Faircloth said.

Junior quarterback Jarrett Hoffpauir completed 89 of 142 passes for 1,422 yards and 11 touchdowns with six interceptions.

He also rushed the ball 40 times for 328 yards.

&uot;Jarrett had a great year and is probably one of the better quarterbacks I’ve had in the last 30 years,&uot; Faircloth said.

Senior Chris Kennedy caught 28 passes for 499 yards and six touchdowns.

The true strength of the team was in the offensive line with seniors Jason Jordan, Matthew Probst, Eddie Jester, Troy Rush and junior Travis McElwee.

&uot;Those youngsters came to play,&uot; Faircloth said. &uot;We never blocked on dummies this year, we always scrimmaged the whole time.&uot;

Defensively, senior Leren Curry led the Vikings with 136 tackles. Senior linebacker Justin Seals totaled 115.

Monday: Cathedral High