Vidalia, Ferriday face one another in competitive 7-on-7

Published 12:05 am Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Vidalia High School’s Errick Genous comes down with a reception during a 7-on-7 against Ferriday High School.  (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

Vidalia High School’s Errick Genous comes down with a reception during a 7-on-7 against Ferriday High School. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

VIDALIA — It took a total of four plays for Vidalia and Ferriday to make their offensive presence felt in Tuesday’s 7-on-7 competition.

Ferriday quarterback Ronald Williams found Ronald Davis on back-to-back slant routes for a score before Vidalia wide receiver Curtis McNulty snatched a one-handed grab over the middle and Vidalia quarterback Jordan Mayes found Errick Genous for a touchdown.

While Ferriday’s touchdown symbolized its players grasping a simple scheme under new head coach Dwight Woods, Vidalia’s exemplified the growth from year one to year two under head coach Jeff Hancock.

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“There’s no comparison,” Hancock said. “Last year, if we could just get lined up in a formation we were doing good. We had huge mountains to overcome last year, but now, we’re competing.”

Separating the two teams was a visible size advantage, particularly at wide receiver. Ferriday, of course, had senior wide receiver Jashon Foster, who stands at 6’8”. Foster’s size allowed him to score five touchdowns against Vidalia, most of which coming on deep jump balls, where he leaped in the air and snagged the ball away from smaller Vidalia defenders. When Foster ran full speed, he caused matchup problems for Vidalia’s defense, making Woods frustrated when Foster took a play off, telling him, “you can be as good as you want to be.”

“He has to make up his mind that he has to play every down,” Woods said. “What he has to realize is if he’s going to be that big-time receiver, you can’t take downs off. There were a couple of times that if he runs his route, he’ll clear the underneath route. But because he jogged, it allowed the coverage to get there and mesh where we didn’t want it. But this is a learning process. They’re not used to running routes built off each other.”

Vidalia, on the other hand, didn’t have long receivers that were blazing down the field making big plays. Instead, the Vikings had players like Julian Wilson, who made four touchdowns against Ferriday, making athletic catches out of the backfield and in the slot.

“Our guys are going to be like Texas Tech when Mike Leach was there, with guys like Wes Welker and Danny Amendola,” Hancock said. “We don’t have 6’5” guys, so we have to create guys getting open.”

As the competition ramped up between Ferriday and Vidalia, so did the Vikings’ quarterback battle. Mayes, a junior, finished the day with four touchdowns, while freshman Tristan Weatherly threw five.

“They’ve both made tremendous improvements with their reads and learning the offense,” Hancock said. “It’s going to come down to the wire.”

On the opposing sideline, returning starter Williams threw 10 touchdowns in the contest, and Woods liked what he saw.

“You can always do better,” Woods said. “We’ve been working some soreness out of his shoulder. He’s actually ahead of the curve from where I expected him to be. The concepts are easy, and the reads are simple.”

Ferriday and Vidalia will face off again on Aug. 29 in a jamboree held at Vidalia High School.