Vidalia loses close contest to Ouachita

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 19, 2006

VIDALIA &8212; On most occasions, a defense forcing three turnovers in

its own territory to go along with a blocked field goal from the special teams unit is enough to help a team win a football game.

That was not the case Friday night in Vidalia (2-5), as the Ouachita Christian Eagles (5-2) controlled the line of scrimmage in a 29-20 win over the Vikings.

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That control would prove to be the difference in the game, as the Eagles chewed up yardage and time in the second and third quarters, allowing the Vikings to run only nine plays in those two quarters. In that time frame, a 14-7 Vidalia lead turned into a 21-14 Ouachita advantage.

In the fourth quarter, Ouachita continued to chew up yardage, driving all the way inside the Vidalia 10 before the Viking defense forced a field goal attempt.

That field goal was blocked by Marvin Payne of Vidalia, giving the Vikings back the ball and the momentum.

Unfortunately, that momentum was short-lived, as quarterback Brandon Hawkins was sacked on the next play and then called for intentional grounding in the end zone for a safety on the next, giving Ouachita a 23-14 lead.

The Eagles drove down the field and scored on an 18-yard run by quarterback Jacob Davis with 6:43 remaining to effectively ice the game.

Demack Bates of Vidalia finally got a chance to shine in the second half on the next drive, making several strong runs and eventually scoring on a 33-yard scamper with 4:54 remaining. The two-point conversion failed, leaving it a two-possession game.

Bates was the star of the game, as usual, carrying 16 times for 145 yards and three touchdowns. He also completed a 26-yard pass and caught two passes for 18 yards.

In a tandem of running backs for Ouachita, Drew Harrison and Caleb Brasher led the way. Harrison got 18 carries for 95 yards and Brasher rushed 12 times for 96 yards and two touchdowns.

Vidalia did have plenty of opportunities to run away with the game early.

After a long drive culminated in a 12-yard touchdown run by Davis, the Vikings took the ball and Bates went to work.

He scored from 25 yards out and then took in the two-point conversion attempt to put the Vikings in the lead.

A few plays later, Davis dropped back to attempt a screen, only to put the ball right in the belly of Vidalia defensive tackle Jeremy Washington. After Washington&8217;s 20-yard return, Bates took off on a 35-yard touchdown run to put the Vikings up 14-7.

Ouachita Christian then drove down the field once again, but fumbled on Vidalia&8217;s 10 yard line.

The Vikings went three and out on their next drive and never recovered.

Vidalia head coach Dee Faircloth said he was quite surprised to see a team that forced three turnovers lose.

&8220;We&8217;re the most giving people in the world,&8221; he said. &8220;We just give and give and give. Luckily, we start district play next week, so it&8217;s a whole new ballgame. We&8217;re going to have to go back to square one. I wish I had more Demack Bateses. He&8217;s a great Viking as far as I&8217;m concerned. He doesn&8217;t quit.&8221;

Faircloth agreed that Ouachita&8217;s line play &8212; the Eagles racked up 337 yards on the ground as a team &8212; was indeed the difference.

&8220;They just kept blowing and going,&8221; he said. &8220;They controlled the line of scrimmage. They&8217;re just a well-coached team.&8221;

The Vikings will take on district foe Lake Providence for homecoming next Friday night at 7.