Vidalia Vikings end season, can’t get going in second round of playoffs

Published 1:03 am Saturday, November 18, 2017

Vidalia High School football coach Dee Faircloth knows within minutes of a game whether or not the Vikings are ready to play.

On Friday night, they weren’t ready.

No. 5 Vidalia (9-3) ended its season with a 44-28 loss to No. 12 seed Northeast in the second round of LHSAA Class 2A playoffs.

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“I didn’t think we were ready. That’s what it comes down to,” Faircloth said. “I didn’t have them ready to play. That was on me, and I’ll take the brunt of that.”

Northeast scored early and it scored quick, finding the end zone first on a 71-yard pass to Evontrey Brown from Ryshaun Steel on its third play from scrimmage.

Northeast then forced Vidalia to a three-and-out on their first possession, only to score just one play later on a 61-yard run from Gregory Whitley. Vidalia trailed at the end of the first period, 22-0.

As Vidalia had a hard time containing anything Northeast tried, the Vikings also struggled to get anything going offensively for itself.

Cam’Ron Randall and Devin Green shared touches in the backfield, but the Vikings had nowhere to go. Randall finished with 13 carries for 89 yards and one score, only chipping away a few yards at a time.

“Nothing we could do was working. We tried everything and none of it worked,” Faircloth said. “They are a big, tough and physical team and we don’t play well against that because we are small. They just took it to us.”

Vikings junior quarterback Tristan Weatherly went 17-for-28 passing, also throwing two interceptions on the night. He connected with Randall on a 3-yard touchdown pass to get the Vikings on the board late in the second quarter, but Northeast shut down the energy as it scored again just before halftime.

“We didn’t throw well, we didn’t block well — we just didn’t play that first half,” Faircloth said. “We can’t spot a team that scores that many points.”

Weatherly ended with two passing touchdowns, finding DeMikal McCoy for a 7-yard score in the fourth quarter. He also rushed for a 5-yard touchdown in the loss.

While Faircloth admitted his team lacked a spark from the beginning, it wasn’t paralleled to the rest of the season.

The Vikings made their first playoff appearance since 2004, and also ended with a winning record for the first time since the same year.

“It was a good season,” Faircloth said. “The efforts these kids gave, I was tickled to death with them. It’s a great coaching staff and it made it even greater.

During the seaon, Vidalia also defeated parish-rival Ferriday for the first time since 2008.

“We beat a super team in Ferriday. Nobody thought we would do all of that,” Faircloth said. “I was proud of our kids. They didn’t give up.”