Weathering the storm: Vidalia, Block ready to play after making practice adjustments

Published 12:01 am Friday, August 31, 2012

Vidalia High School’s Trashone Mayes, left, will try to elude Block High School defenders Saturday just like he tried to elude Ferriday High School’s Dajohn Mitchell during their exhibition game last weekend at the Vidalia High School jamboree. (Ben Hillyer \ The Natchez Democrat)

JONESVILLE — Despite school being closed Wednesday, Block High School head coach Benny Vault Jr. was able to get a practice in early that morning.

Even with no practice Thursday, the Bears will have one more day of practice today before hosting Vidalia High School Saturday evening.

In other words, despite Tropical Storm Isaac’s impact in the region, Block didn’t lose much in its practice schedule this week, Vault said.

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“We pretty much stayed normal,” Vault said. “I figured the weather wouldn’t be here until (Wednesday) afternoon, so I got a 9 a.m. practice in.”

The Bears had good turnout Wednesday morning, Vault said, and they’ll have a walkthrough in the school’s gym today in order to finish going over the game plan for Vidalia. Vault said he was happy he still got four days of practice in this week, but there are still certain things they won’t be able to simulate.

“The conditions on Saturday will still be wet, the ball will be slippery and there’s no way to simulate the weather conditions,” Vault said.

The Vikings were not as fortunate with practice time this week. With a junior varsity game Monday, Vidalia was only able to practice Tuesday before Isaac disrupted plans, head coach Gary Parnham Jr. said.

Tensas High School’s Sammie Burks Jr., left, reaches to tackle Block’s Ken Colbert at the jamboree. (Ben Hillyer \ The Natchez Democrat)

Because of that, the Vikings were forced to spend a little extra time at practice Tuesday, and the team will do more than it’s typical day-before-a-game walkthrough when practice resumes today.

“Being off two days, how much they’ll remember (today in practice), we don’t know,” Parnham said.

Seeing the Bears play in the Vidalia jamboree Saturday gave his team a bit of a preview for this week’s game, but Parnham said jamborees aren’t the best way to gauge a team’s potential.

“No team really shows everything they’ve got this early in the season,” Parnham said.

Parnham also said his team would have to be ready to go against the Bears’ team speed.

“They’re just as good as always,” Parnham said. “They’ve got plenty of speed. If we let those guys break free and run, they’re going to run all over us.

“We have a big challenge in front of us Saturday, and all the distractions don’t help as far as staying focused.”

Vault said he’s expecting the Vikings to be much improved this season.

“They’re big, and they move pretty well,” Vault said. “Their quarterback (Michael Whitley) is a playmaker. I told my kids we have to go out and prepare for everyone like they’re champions.”

Parnham said he’s not expecting any surprises come Friday night.

“Benny doesn’t hide what he’s going to do,” Parnham said, referring to the Bears’ double wing offense. “He basically tells you what he’s going to do. We’ll do the same thing we’ve done, as far as what he’s seen. Whoever plays the best, makes tackles and gets breaks will probably win.”

Kickoff is at 7 p.m. Saturday at Block.