Vikings prepare to host Wilkinson County in spring game today

Published 12:02 am Saturday, May 16, 2015

VIDALIA — The hay is in the barn for the Vidalia Vikings.

Players have been flying around to the football with tremendous physicality, and head coach Jeff Hancock has further installed a spread offense to his liking. But today, hosting a Wilkinson County High School club in Hancock’s first spring game at Vidalia High School, the team will get an up-close glance at how much progress has been made since an 0-10 2014 football season.

“Coach (Dee) Faircloth don’t get high on anything, but this spring he’s been jacked up,” Hancock said. “If he’s fired up, I’m fired up about this. I have not had to yell at guys hardly at all about being locked in and staying focused. Last year, those were the things that I had to spend a lot of time teaching. We’re so far ahead of the game this year in strength, knowledge, body type and ability.”

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With roughly 60 players in attendance at spring practice, the Vikings return most of its starters from a year ago, including three offensive linemen, most of its corps receivers and running backs. However, in tonight’s 6 p.m. spring scrimmage with Wilkinson County, the Vikings will have fresh faces at quarterback, filling in for the graduating Landon Seyfarth. Jordan Mayes, who was able to get a few reps at quarterback last season, will be sharing reps with rising freshman Tristan Weatherly.

“Jordan is a kid who can run around and use his feet, while Tristan is more of a stereotypical drop-back passer,” Hancock said. “We’re going to change a little bit, package-wise, with them in the fall.”

Julian Wilson and Antione Taylor will continue to share the load in the backfield, while Errick Genous and Curtis McNulty return as big targets for the Vikings’ passing game.

Genous is one of the many reasons Faircloth is “jacked up,” like Hancock alluded to. Genous, who made a splash at defensive end last season will transition to middle linebacker, where he’ll be joined by McNulty. Filling in at defensive end will be rising freshmen defensive ends L.J. Jones and DeMichael McCoy.

“We’re much more athletic there,” Hancock said. “We have two young defensive ends there that could be special. We’re going to be a lot more physical on defense. Not a shadow of a doubt.”

Genous said he, along with other seniors, has taken it upon himself to be a leader to a squad that represents so many newcomers.

“I’m in more of a teacher-type mode,” Genous said. “During the spring, I would have film sessions at my house. We would watch film for about an hour, and the only reason most came was the (NBA) 2K tournaments that followed. But hey, they still learned a lot.”

The combination of leadership, returning starters, incoming talented freshmen and acceptance of Hancock’s playing style is something Genous hopes creates more victories for the Vikings in 2015.

“With the seniors that we have this year, and the way we’re influencing everybody, there’s no way we’re losing like that this year,” Genous said.