Vidalia High knocks off Tensas, Mentorship in jamboree

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 27, 2017

With arms folded tightly, Dee Faircloth watched steadily from the sideline as Vidalia High School took the field for its first matchup of Saturday’s home jamboree.

Within one quarter of play, the Vikings defeated Tensas High, 14-0. By the second game, they had defeated Mentorship Academy, 14-0, and Faircloth saw his biggest wish come alive.

“I just want these kids to feel good again, and I think they are feeling good,” he said. “I’m proud of them, and hopefully we can keep the kids feeling good about themselves.”

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Faircloth previously led the Vikings from 1968-2009, before leaving the school due to illness. With more than 40 years experience, he was hired as head coach again this past March after serving as a defensive assistant for the past two years.

Since his return in the head position, Faircloth has returned to a variety of his traditional values.

Vidalia is now sporting the former white helmets with Viking stickers and will wear blue jerseys for home games.

Quarterback Tristan Weatherly — who ended the first jamboree game passing 6-for-11 with 92 yards — said that’s not where the tradition stops.

“He says this is a new team, but he’s bringing his way back,” he said. “It’s about the way we used to play — hard work and toughness of his old teams. We are glad he’s back.”

Devin Green and Ken Hudson both ran in 1-yard touchdowns for Vidalia during the first game. On defense, Cam’Ron Randall snagged an interception, and the Vikings also recovered two fumbles.

While Saturday was a chance for the Vikings to shake out any nerves before next Friday’s season opener at Sicily Island, it was also the first chance for fans to see Faircloth back in action.

Weatherly said he was grateful the team’s hard work showed.

“That was good to see it pay off,” he said. “I’m glad we put on a good showing for them. Everybody was excited about it, and we showed them what they wanted to see.”

Faircloth agreed, while noting he felt comfortable in his position.

“I hope the fans come and see us again. For a jamboree, things are looking up,” he said. “I guess since I’ve done it so long, it’s not really any different. I grew up in a locker room, and I guess I’m going to die in one — either that or on the field.”

Overall, Faircloth said he hopes his team can continue the positive vibes.

“We left some points on the field that we should have got, but I was pleased with them,” he said.

Next week’s kickoff is set for 7 p.m. with the Tigers.