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Vidalia High Vikings work on agility, Ferriday High Trojans work on strength

VIDALIA — Both Ferriday and Vidalia high schools returned to practices last week.

Both teams worked on different components of the teams in hopes of improving performance in football games in the upcoming season.

On Thursday, the Vikings worked on agility in the parking lot outside of Vidalia High School. On Friday, the Ferriday High Trojans worked on weightlifting for the majority of the two-hour practice.

The 15 out of 22 juniors and seniors on Ferriday’s football squad on Friday worked on a variety of weightlifting exercises, such as dips, barbell curls and overhead squats.

Kenny Kitchens, offensive coordinator for the Trojans, said weightlifting is what helped the Trojans last season become the Louisiana High School Athletics Association Class 2A state champions.

“Weightlifting is huge for this sport because there is a lot of wear and tear on the body throughout the season,” Kitchens said. “You have a lot of physical contact that goes on in football. If you don’t prepare your body for that, then your body breaks down. Weightlifting is a huge part for a program as we try to rebuild it.”

Kylyn Lewis, Vincent Hollins and Anthony Searles are three of the 15 Ferriday juniors and seniors who were at practice on Friday.

Lewis said his favorite part of practice was doing the overhead squats.

“When you do squats they make you feel more explosive and faster,” Lewis said. “You can come off the line of scrimmage quicker.”

During Friday’s weightlifting practice, Hollins was doing dips off of a wooden bench in the weightlifting room. Hollins said he liked doing the arm curls and dips during Friday’s practice.

The Trojans practiced on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday last week. Searles said practices have been going good and weightlifting is very important for the team.

“You can build muscle and work to improve the muscles that are weaker,” Searles said. “Weightlifting helps so you do not get injured in the regular season and weightlifting keeps your body in shape.”

In comparison, the Vidalia High School Vikings worked on agility during Thursday’s practice.

The Vikings were separated into three groups on Thursday and worked on different aspects of agility in the Vidalia High School parking lot.

Michael Norris, head football coach for the Vikings, said being agile on the football field is important.

“For any athlete if they do not have good feet, they are not going to accomplish anything. All athletic moves start with your feet,” Norris said. “If they do not have the ability to change direction or to be agile with their feet, then they are not going to be able to make athletic moves. You can have a strong team, but if I have a quick team then I will always beat you because faster players win football games.”

The Vikings practiced on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday for two-and-a half hours each day. Norris said practices went as he expected them to go.

Jalen Duson participated in the agility workouts on Thursday. Duson said the agility workouts are going to help in the long run for the Vikings.

Sema’J Hayes and Nathaniel Tatum were in the same group in the agility workouts on Thursday.

“I know I needed the agility for sure,” Tatum said. “I have been sitting on the couch during the quarantine, so we had to get back into it. The agility workouts were important because we do not have a lot of guys here right now. We are going to have to play on both offense and defense.”

Hayes said he is glad the Vikings began practices last week.

“We are rebuilding everything and we have a lot to do,” Hayes said. “I feel like it is a good thing we are starting now, so we can get our conditioning in. Once we get on the field, it will be easy for us.”