Vidalia set to host Block Friday night

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, August 31, 2011

VIDALIA — Both Vidalia High School and Block High School had the luxury of a jamboree game this past Saturday to fine-tune things.

Now that the two are fresh off the Vidalia High School jamboree, the Bears and the Vikings will turn their focus toward one another.

Vidalia is set to host Block for both teams’ season opener Friday, and Vikings head coach Gary Parnham Jr. said he’s expecting to see a formidable opponent in the Bears.

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“They’re good,” Parnham said. “They’re as good as they were last year, to me. They have a pretty good-sized line, and great backs in the backfield.

“They’re a hard-nosed team, and (head coach) Benny (Vault Jr.) coaches them that way. He’s a good coach, and we’re expecting a tough football game. We’re going to have to match their physical play.”

Vault said his team will have to keep the Vidalia running game in check in order to win.

“They’re big up front, and the Jamal Davis kid at tailback runs really hard,” Vault said. “He can cause some problems, and we’re going to have to be on our A-game, because they’ll be fired up.

“It’s the first game of the season, so this is where you set your tone. We expect it to be a really competitive game, and that’s how we want it.”

The Vikings dropped their jamboree game against Ferriday High School 20-7 Saturday, and Parnham said he saw a lot of things from his team that didn’t surprise him.

“We’re young. We made rookie mistakes, as expected,” Parnham said. “For a lot of these kids, it’s their first varsity action. We saw some good things, it’s just that the bad outweighed the good.”

Since Parnham is expecting the Bears to play physical football Friday, he said he’s stressing to his players the importance of fighting back.

“We’re just trying to get them to be physical in practice,” Parnham said. “We’re trying to get them to hit more, because the more you hit, the more they get accustomed to it.

“Basically, all you can do is teach them how to properly hit and tackle. It’s all about repetition.”

Vault said he’s stressing the importance of the rivalry between his school and Vidalia — especially after Vidalia had beaten them for so many years.

“They used to beat up on us, and lately there’s been a changing of the guard,” Vault said. “We want to let them know we’ve been in control, and we don’t want to lose that.

“There’s also the aspect of us trying to get revenge for all those years they beat us. Our kids are excited, fired up and focused. We’re going to approach it like every other game — we want to be successful in every contest.”

Kickoff at Vidalia is at 7 p.m. Friday.