Vidalia Jamboree gives fans first glimpse of teams

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 26, 2001

VIDALIA, La. – One team accomplished what it wanted to do. One established itself as a team ready to make a return trip to the playoffs. And one is still looking for answers.

Block, Ferriday and Vidalia played in the Vidalia Jamboree Saturday night to open up their 2001 football seasons, and each team fared a little bit differently than the others.

Block coach Randy Ashworth simplified his team’s playbook and saw some bright spots. Ferriday ran over Jena and Vidalia, staking an early claim to its district title. And Vidalia struggled to put some things together at first, but ended on a high note.

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Block succeeded in implementing a solid ground game. Against Newellton, Block racked up 75 yards rushing, led by Murphy Harbor’s 33 yards. Block didn’t do anything flashy – just straight power football with straight dive plays and sweeps.

&uot;We had a really small package that we wanted to run,&uot; said Ashworth. &uot;We stuck with what was working for us. We wanted to keep it simple.&uot;

In the Bears second game, the team slipped by Vidalia 6-0. Harbor led the way again. His 6-yard touchdown run with 34 seconds left gave the Bears the win. The Bears defense was good, too. It only allowed 45 yards rushing and no yards passing.

&uot;Our defense is ahead of our offense, but that’s expected this time of the year,&uot; Ashworth said. &uot;We’re expecting big things from that side of the ball.&uot;

Ferriday had the complete package.

Running back Brennan Smith scored three touchdowns in the Trojans’ 18-0 win over Vidalia.

He ran for 62 yards on four carries in that game and 20 yards on four carries in Ferriday’s 6-0 win over Jena. Quarterback Tyrrence Taylor completed three passes for 56 yards and a touchdown. Chris Sheppard caught a 30-yard pass on a slant route to give Ferriday its victory over Jena. Coach James McFarland said he was a little worried coming into the Jamboree, but left with some positive thoughts.

&uot;We were unsure of how we were going to play,&uot; he said. &uot;We were really impressive on defense.&uot; He added he still thinks there’s room for improvement, though, on both sides of the ball.

While Block and Ferriday felt upbeat about their performances, Vidalia coach Dee Faircloth knows his team could use some work, especially in holding onto the football. The Vikings fumbled four times.

&uot;I’m going to call the commissioner to see of we could put a handle on our footballs,&uot; said Faircloth.

The Vikings managed to put some things together at the end of its game versus Ferriday. After falling behind 18-0 with 5:58 to play, Vidalia drove from their own 13-yard line to Ferriday’s 39 when time expired. The Vikings ran 11 plays, eight of which were running plays. The Vikings offensive line won the battles in the trenches as Vidalia rang up 28 yards on the ground. The big plays of the drive came from receivers josh Bush and Stephen Welch. Quarterback Trey White floated a pass to Bush for a 20-yard gain and hit Welch on an out route for 19-yards.

&uot;You could look at that (drive),&uot; Faircloth said. &uot;(The offense) sucked it up a little bit.&uot;

Block opens its regular season versus Cathedral next Friday. Ferriday hosts Newellton. Vidalia travels to Franklin County.