A ‘power’ful game

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 9, 2003

VIDALIA, La. &045; Rankings, schmankings; give us power ratings, hark the Vidalia football faithful.

Louisiana High School Athletic Association Class 2A’s No. 2 team, which moved up from the third spot after West St. John fell from the ranks of the unbeaten last Friday, would much rather put its stock in the system that determines playoff seedings rather than arbitrary sportswriters’ polls.

The Vikings have won 14 consecutive regular season games dating back to 2002’s kickoff and look to extend the streak to 15 when Class 3A Jena visits Faircloth Drive.

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&uot;We don’t dwell on any of that,&uot; Vidalia head coach Dee Faircloth said. &uot;We look at who we’re going to play. We don’t go into games saying, ‘We gotta keep the streak going.’ We don’t emphasize the polls. It’s nice recognition, but it doesn’t mean squat. The main thing we shoot for is our power ratings.&uot;

While only Sterlington (4-0) eludes Vidalia in the Louisiana Sportswriter’s Association poll as the top team in the state, Faircloth’s experienced bunch is only as high as ninth in the power ratings.

Power ratings are devised by various facets of a team’s season, including statistics such as 10 points for each win; two points for playing up a class like Vidalia’s doing against Jena today; and earning a single point each week an opponent on your schedule notches a victory.

A week after exploding for 30 points in the fourth quarter to knock off Block, Jena went toe-to-toe with another 2A elite Ouachita Christian and lost 49-36.

&uot;(Jena has) two guys we’re going to have to cover,&uot; Faircloth said of receivers Rafael Dangerfield and Jordan Johnson. &uot;I don’t know how we’re going to do that. They’ll bang you with their big running back (Marcus Howard) and sweep you with the faster one (Bobby Purvis).&uot;

The same two teams scrimmaged each other before the Vidalia Jamboree in late August, at which both teams were the only ones out of seven teams to win both contests.

Faircloth has been very impressed with how the Giants have looked offensively on tape.

&uot;(The Giants) have some big physical kids. Anybody that can score 30 on Block in one quarter has got to be pretty good,&uot; he said. &uot;They could’ve won that game last week.&uot;

As is customary, Faircloth played the shrewd role when discussing his team’s chances.

In his 36th year with the Vikings, the ball coach is well-schooled in tactics leading up to kickoff in the way in poormouths his team’s chances.

&uot;We’re just going to have to see what we can do,&uot; Faircloth said. &uot;If we can get a first down, we’ll be happy. Hopefully we’ll be up, and not come out like we did against Block.&uot;

However, Faircloth did admit the Vikings 48-15 win over Rayville last Friday, in which Vidalia racked up more than 410 yard of total offense, was a sign of things to come he hopes.

&uot;We haven’t been hitting on all cylinders for much of the year,&uot; he said. &uot;Our timing was out of sync against Block, and then we came back against Avoyelles and missed some opportunities to score. But last week I think we began to hit on all cylinders. Hopefully that wasn’t a one-game flash.&uot;

Carroll at Ferriday, 7 p.m.

The pleasant temperatures that have swept through the Miss-Lou in recent weeks was visibly reflected on the face of Trojan head coach James McFarland and his pupils throughout this week.

You see Ferriday posted a ‘1’ in the win column to end a three-game slide to open the 2003 season.

But hold up, coach Mac says, because the 2-1 Bulldogs are coming to town after an impressive 28-6 homecoming win over Booker T. Washington-Shreveport last Friday.

&uot;We’re excited, but we know Carroll is a good football team,&uot; McFarland said. &uot;You can be excited, but get over it fast. We’ve got to be prepared.&uot;

Ferriday, behind the pumping legs of running back Theotis Cummings, downed Peabody, 33-20, last Friday.

Cummings had touchdown runs of 27, 40 and 32 yards on a career night in which he ran for 223 yards on 24 carries, a 9.3 average.

&uot;With Theotis that makes us a better football team. Since I’ve been here we’ve always tried to be a balanced football team,&uot; McFarland said. &uot;I’ve always known that being one-dimensional is easy to defend. We are a much better team with Theotis in the backfield.&uot;

Trojan quarterback Scotty Cage was 8 of 14 for 153 yards passing in the win.

On the flip side, Carroll is just as balanced, perhaps even more with a tailback in Sam King, who eclipsed the 100-yard mark last Friday and has 232 yards on 43 rushes for the season.

The Bulldogs main weapon is quarterback Brandon Landers, who loves the friendly skies, as evidenced by his 13 of 25 for 200 yards night in the victory over BTW.

&uot;We won’t play another team that can run and pass the ball any better than (Carroll) except for possibly Rayville,&uot; McFarland said. &uot;It’s been a hard week of practices. Hopefully, we’ll be able to come out and compete.&uot;

McFarland said no one ever associated with the Trojan army every hit the panic button when things began so shaky for this team.

A difficult beginning, along with some humbling defeats and some inner strife has challenged Ferriday to be focused week-in and week-out.

&uot;We knew as the weeks go on, we’d get better as a team because of our youth and inexperience,&uot; McFarland said. &uot;The only thing that kills that is games. We still have a lot of growing to do. We keep reminded them of that.&uot;