Catching right on: Former Trinity player joins Vidalia in strengthened receiving core

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Vidalia High quarterback Tristan Weatherly prepared to call out his signals. Before doing so, he looked to left, then his right and all he could do was smile.

Tuesday at Wilkinson County’s 7-on-7, senior-to-be wide receiver Devonte Loyd lined up on the left side. Opposite of him on the right side was fellow senior-to-be and Trinity Episcopal School transfer receiver Jarred Simpson.

“It’s awesome,” Weatherly said. “Having those two on the outside is valuable. It makes me feel a lot a better.”

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Last year, Loyd was one of the Vikings’ top pass catchers. He caught 30 passes for 444 yards and three touchdowns according to Max Preps. It was an average of 14.8 yards per reception.

Heading into this offseason, Loyd was expected to blossom into Vidalia’s go-to receiver. But with Simpson now on the roster — who was one of Trinity’s top receivers in 2017 — coach Dee Faircloth said he believes the two could form one of the best receiving duos the Vikings have seen in decades.

“We have been playing with one another for a long time,” Simpson said. “So we know how to communicate with one another.

“When we play with one another, it’s like ‘I’ll do this, and you do that,’ and it works.”

Before Simpson was a Trinity Saint, he was a Viking. Simpson said it feels great for him to play with his family and friends again during his final year of high school.

“I love it,” Simpson said. “It’s a great atmosphere.”

Not only is Simpson happy to play for Vidalia again, but so is Loyd.

“I’m glad he is back,” Loyd said. “He will be a great addition to this team.”

Last season, Loyd made what Faircloth said were “ESPN top-10 highlight reel” catches. This offseason — in practice and at 7-on-7s — Simpson has too. Tuesday night was no different.

In all three games Vidalia participated Tuesday — against Wilkinson County High School, Tylertown and Natchez High — Loyd was consistently beating his opponent down the sideline for long touchdowns. As for Simpson, on several occasions he got passed the seconday with his route running abilities.

Loyd and Simpson both believe the small sample size of big-time plays is just signs of what is to come.

“We are going to ball out this year,” Loyd said.

Before the two can show out, Faircloth said they need to be more consistent. On multiple occasions Loyd and Simpsion dropped passes that hit their hands.

After the competition ended and the four teams shouted “family” in unision, every team went their separate ways. Yet as the Vikings were walking back to their bus, Loyd and Simpson were talking to one another about how they can improve their game.

While both receivers bring something unique to the table and have high expectations for one another, they made one thing clear: defenses should look out in 2018.

“No team can run double-coverage on us this year,” Simpson said. “We got Devonte on one side and me on the other, I don’t think defenses will be able to cover us.”

Heading into this season, Vidalia can only hope Simpson is right.