Vikings pound Green Demons, to visit WSJ in semifinals

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 5, 2003

VIDALIA, La. &045; In 36 years as head coach Dee Faircloth has seen it all, done it all and &045; most fitting &045; said it all.

But there’s one thing the full-time coach and part-time standup comic has not done &045; that is, up until Friday night. His Vikings doused Mamou, 46-12, to advance to the Class 2A quarterfinals for the first time since 1966, a time when Faircloth was a fair-haired graduate assistant at Northeast Louisiana and two years prior to joining the coaching staff at VHS.

The Vikings, however, still aim to please. The win Friday put the longest run in the playoffs in school history in 37 years after the 1973 team lost in the quarterfinals.

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They’ll play at West St. John Friday with a berth in the state championship on the line.

&uot;He told us it’s been at least 40 years since a Vidalia team has been to the state semifinals,&uot; VHS senior fullback Chris Williams said. &uot;We want to make him happy. He’s the heart and soul of this team. He makes us work harder. We think about a state championship all the time, but we’ve got to prove to him we can do it.&uot;

The win was one Faircloth really could enjoy afterward despite the chilly air and damp conditions at Viking Field. Seldom do you have games in the quarterfinals as lopsided as this one was, and the Vikings (13-0) took advantage of Mamou’s mistakes and even executed when they didn’t mean to.

This team, Faircloth said, is a more battle-tested group than last year’s squad that also went through the regular season undefeated but lost in the second round at home.

&uot;They’ve impressed me with the ability to stay focused and not get rattled even when I’m fussing at them like all get out,&uot; Faircloth said. &uot;They’ve had come-from-behind wins. That’s a credit to your seniors, and we’ve got 15 of them. They do a heck of a job.&uot;

The offense has plenty of seniors, and many of them were critical roles in a third-quarter barrage of scoring that put the game away. The Green Demons (9-4) trailed by two touchdowns at halftime and scored on their first possession of the second half to cut it to 21-12 on a 6-yard run from Andre Doucet, but the floodgates opened.

More specifically, Michael Randall broke open. He broke a 65-yard touchdown run on the first play to put the lead at 27-12 as part of a 228-yard night for the senior.

It was also the first of three Vidalia touchdowns over a 3 1/2-minute span.

&uot;I give that to my line &045; I told them if they open the holes, I’m coming behind them,&uot; Randall said. &uot;That’s what I had to do. That (three scores) put us up right there. We ran the same play over and over, and it was still working. We’ve got a good line, and they work hard. If they work hard, I’m going to work hard.&uot;

That’s when things just kept going wrong for the Green Demons. On their first play following the score both their running backs &045; Nip LaRose and Doucet &045; got hurt, and the next play they recovered their own fumble.

The next play they fumbled again, but Robert Walker recovered it to give the Vikings the ball at the Mamou 48. From there Randall punched in another long run when he took it around the right side 48 yards for a score to put the lead at 34-12 with 6:38 left.

&uot;I think we set some kind of record for fumbles,&uot; Mamou head coach Joel Desselle said. &uot;I’m not sure how many fumbles we had, but I’m sure we had 10. They’re a good team. You can’t keep turning the ball over because it gives them momentum. I don’t think we could have played any worse. It’s just one of those things.&uot;

On the kickoff Williams followed with a pooch kick that went off the side of his foot, but the James Clem recovered it to give the Vikings the ball at the Mamou 44. Randall took the first two plays for 14 and 21 yards before on the fourth play quarterback Tony Hawkins ran it in from 10 yards out for a 40-12 lead with 4:43 left.

The Green Demons fumbled again on the first play of their next drive after LaRose broke a 32-yard run to give the Vikings the ball at their own 30. On the fourth play Hawkins hit Rodney Washington for a 69-yard TD pass with 2:29 left for the 46-12 lead.

The Green Demons couldn’t execute on their second-half drives and finished the game with six turnovers. At the start of the fourth quarter they got down to the Vidalia 4, got pushed back on a penalty to the 8 before quarterback Will Fontenot was picked off by Vidalia defensive back C.J. Williams.

On their first drive of the game Leroy Butler intercepted a Fontenot pass at the Vidalia 30, and Butler snagged another one right before the half at the Vidalia 10 to prevent another score.

Big Laterryal Savoy &045; no height listed in the program, but he had to be 6-3 &045; finished the game with six catches for 100 yards

&uot;I left it up to my kids,&uot; Faircloth said. &uot;We’re going to gamble if we put eight in the box, and they were going to be left out there man on man. It’s a challenge out there.&uot;