Vidalia, Sicily Island eager for season-opening showdown

Published 12:18 am Friday, September 2, 2016

Vidalia High School head coach Jeff Hancock said his squad is capable of becoming the Vikings’ first playoff team since 2004.

He first saw their potential this spring.

“There’s no doubt these guys are working hard,” Hancock said. “They’re strong, lifting weights two days a week, watching film all day. These kids have bought in, and they’re playing for each other.”

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While Hancock, Vidalia’s third-year head coach, said his program is running, Sicily Island first-year head coach Curtis Shavers is teaching his team to walk.

That’s not to say the Sicily Island offense won’t do plenty of running.

“We think we have enough skilled players,” Shavers said. “We expect a lot from one of our young kids … (eighth-grade running back Landrae James) is one of the best athletes on the team. Very quick, very skilled, great potential. We look to have a lot from him in coming years, but we want to show his this year.”

Hancock said he got a glimpse of the Tigers’ single-wing offense after playing Sicily Island last season.

“They have a rich history and tradition of running the single-wing,” Hancock said. “They know how to run it, if anybody does they know how to do it. It’s different than what you see most times when you go against a spread.”

Shavers said the variable in his offense is blocking. In addition to James, the Tigers will run its offense through quarterback Tyreke Tolliver and wideout and tight end Devion Dunbar.

Shavers said he was impressed with his veteran defense in last week’s jamboree with Delta Charter School.

“In the jamboree, we played OK. We lost to Delta Charter 7-0, but we had some opportunities that we didn’t follow through on that could have brought us back in,” Shavers said. “It was a defensive struggle most of the game … I think the most important key on defense is that our leaders show up and get everyone to play in their roles.”

Hancock said he is also optimistic about his own defense after last week’s jamboree.

“If you saw our defense, we played as one, which is what we need to do,” Hancock said.

Sicily Island and Vidalia will kick off at 7 p.m. tonight.