Giant win deflates Vidalia’s momentum

Published 12:45 am Saturday, October 6, 2012

Vidalia High School’s defenders Sean Gatlin, Dee Whitley and Charles Johnson tackle Jena High School’s Shaq Todd during a run in Friday’s game. Vidalia fell to Jena, 30-14. (Lauren Wood \ The Natchez Democrat)

VIDALIA — The Vidalia Vikings hung tough with the Jena Giants in the first half, but the second half belonged to Jena as the Giants came away with a 30-14 win Friday night over Vidalia in the LHSAA District 3-3A opener for both teams.

“We got Michael Whitley back. It looked like he didn’t miss a beat,” Vidalia head coach Gary Parnham Jr. said. “He threw the ball well. He ran the ball well.”

Vidalia was looking to keep the momentum going after a 10-7 homecoming win over Baker a week earlier. The Vikings stayed right with Jena despite giving up a touchdown with about four minutes to go until halftime that gave the Giants an 8-0 lead after the two-point conversion.

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But the Vikings would not let the Giants go into halftime with the lead as they scored a touchdown and two-point conversion of their own to make it an 8-8 game at the break.

However, Jena (5-1, 1-0) took over in the second half as it forced turnovers and used its ground game to wear down Vidalia’s defense. The Giants scored 16 points in the third quarter to put the game away.

“We didn’t have the breaks we needed. It was a very physical game,” Parnham said. “They’ve got a good football team. They ran the ball down the field on us.”

Vidalia (1-5, 0-1) plays at Marksville at 7 p.m. next Friday.