Vikings encounter tough test

Published 1:13 am Wednesday, October 20, 2010

VIDALIA — Vidalia High School’s schedule isn’t getting any easier, and the Vikings head on the road this week to take on another district opponent.

Vidalia (1-6, 0-3) will travel to Bunkie, La., Friday to take on Bunkie High School (4-3, 2-1). Vikings head coach Gary Parnham Jr. said the time of travel is just an added intangible his players would have to overcome.

“They’re down south of here, and it’s about a two-hour ride by bus,” Parnham said.

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“It’s a long trip, and that’s something you have to factor into your play when you face a very good opponent like Bunkie.”

The Panthers boast a strong offense, Parnham said, thanks to top-notch play from several different skill players.

“They have a good quarterback, big linemen and a lot of speed,” Parnham said.

“It’s going to be a tough challenge for us. They like to spread and throw more than anything, and they have really good receivers. They have a good running back who’s tough, but they will throw the ball probably 60 to 65 percent of the time.”

Bunkie’s quarterback is also quite capable of getting the ball into his receivers’ hands, Parnham said.

“He’s not a running quarterback like we faced last week (against Bolton High School), but he has a really good arm and is an accurate passer. With the great receivers he has, that’s a deadly combination.”

Defensively, the Panthers bring a unit that’s very good at flowing toward the football, Parnham said.

“They seem to be really strong on defense. I know they held Marksville to zero points in the first half a few weeks ago, and Marksville is ranked No. 3 or 4 in (LHSAA) 3A,” Parnham said.

“They pursue the ball well and make it tough to get outside on them. They’re big, but they have speed, so they’re agile. I was impressed with them on film. They hung in there with Marksville but got beat on some tough breaks. I know they let a kick return go back for a touchdown and some other things, but they were right there with them until the fourth quarter (when Marksville scored 21 points).”

In last week’s 37-27 loss to Bolton, Parnham said he was pleased that his team played intense for four quarters, but wasn’t happy with how things began.

“We started off slow, and Bolton’s quarterback was a Michael Vick type who can run and throw,” Parnham said.

“We contained him for parts of the game, but his scrambling ability was a big key for them. There were two or three plays that, if they went differently, there would have been a different outcome. It was 14-7 at the half, and those two to three breakdowns ended up costing us big time.”

Kickoff at Bunkie is at 7 Friday night.