Prep previews: Trojans set to face Vikings, Block hosts Jena

Published 12:01 am Thursday, September 15, 2011

VIDALIA — Ferriday High School head coach Richard Oliver isn’t too familiar with the Trojans’ rivalry with Vidalia High School.

Not being from the area, Oliver said he’s deferring to his players on the rivalry. But he can sense it means a lot to the players, Oliver said.

“I don’t know the area too well, but when they played us, they played us hard,” Oliver said. “People around the community and our players know how important this game is.”

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Vidalia (0-2) head coach Gary Parnham Jr. said he also expects a lot of intensity when the Trojans (1-1) take the field at Dee Faircloth Viking Stadium.

“It’s always a big rivalry,” Parnham said. “Ferriday will come in here jumping through hoops. It doesn’t matter what the record is, there’s going to be a lot of excitement.”

The Trojans have a lot to be excited about after pulling out a 22-16 win against Block High School last week. Oliver said his team was able to take advantage of some critical turnovers by the Bears.

“One of the main factors in football is the turnover ration,” Oliver said. “That’s what (University of Alabama head coach) Nick Saban would always preach. When you turn the ball over a lot, you increase the chances that you’re going to lose.

“(Block) turned the ball over a lot, and we took advantage of some of those in crucial situations.”

Oliver also said he was happy for his team to get a win against a quality opponent.

“I didn’t realize how highly-ranked Block was. They’re one of the top teams in the area, and our kids played really well,” Oliver said.

The Vikings, on the other hand, remain winless on the young season, and Parnham said it’s not going to get any easier this week.

“They’re a great team. They have great coaches. They’re fast, quick and aggressive,” Parnham said. “We have a tiger by the tail, and they’ll be dressed in black and gold, calling themselves the Trojans.”

Oliver isn’t downplaying Vidalia’s chances just because the Vikings are winless, however.

“I think they’ve gotten better since we played them in the jamboree,” Oliver said. “They have several good athletes and some big linemen. They’re trying to get it together. I just hope they don’t get it together against us.”

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

Block High School

JONESVILLE — The Bears (1-1) will look to rebound from last week’s loss to Ferriday when they host Jena High School Friday night.

Jena is coached by former Block head coach Chad Harkins, who also coached at Ferriday last season.

“They run the exact same offense that we do, the Wing-T,” Bears head coach Benny Vault Jr. said.

“Me and Coach Harkins are good friends. We coached together for six years, and there’s a friendly rivalry between us.”

Despite his defense seeing the Wing-T in practice every day, Vault said he doesn’t know if that gives his defense any inherent advantage against Jena.

“I try to show my kids defensively how to play against the offense,” Vault said. “We might have a little bit more insight on it than someone who’s never seen it. Hopefully we don’t have to think too much and just play football.”

Kickoff at Block is at 7 Friday night.