Prep Football Previews: Trojans’ Friday game canceled due to COVID-19

Published 8:46 pm Tuesday, November 24, 2020

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FERRIDAY — The Ferriday High School Trojans were looking forward to playing at Melz Field Friday night against the East Feliciana High School Tigers in the first round of the 2020 LHSAA Class 2A Playoffs after missing their final two regular season games due to COVID-19 concerns.

Unfortunately for No. 7 seed Ferriday, it will have to wait yet another week to return to action.

“They (East Feliciana) had some kids test positive for COVID-19 last week. I found out about Sunday after the playoff brackets came out,” Trojans head coach Stanley Smith said. “I was waiting to hear back from our principal (Kimberly M. Jackson).”

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Smith said that the players were anxious to get back out on the field Friday night.

Ferriday’s last game was on Nov. 6, a 42-36 loss at home to Mangham High School. That win propelled the Dragons to the district championship and the No. 2 seed in the Class 2A Playoffs.

“Hopefully, when they come out and compete in practice, they will have that high energy when they execute,” Smith said.

With the forfeit win in which the score was 2-0, Ferriday improved to 6-1 overall and will take on the winner of Friday night’s first-round game between No. 23 seed Pine High School and No. 10 seed Port Allen High School.

Vidalia at St. Helena College & Career Academy

VIDALIA — Despite going 1-4 overall and 1-4 in LHSAA District 2-2A, here are the Vidalia High School Vikings in the 2020 LHSAA Class 2A Playoffs. That’s the good news.

The bad news? They have to travel to Greensburg, La. in the first round of the 2020 LHSAA Class 2A Playoffs against the surprising No. 4 seed St. Helena College & Career Academy Hawks. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m. Friday.

Vidalia had its regular season finale at home last Friday against Bossier High School canceled because some of Bossier’s players tested positive for COVID-19. Which means it will have been two weeks since the Vikings last played a game.

“It’s a weird year, but we’re excited to be in the playoffs. I’ve been coaching for 20 years and only two of those years did my teams not make the playoffs,” Vikings first-year head coach Michael Norris said. “It’s what we expect. It’s our expectation — to be in the playoffs.”

St. Helena College & Career Academy is the No. 4 seed despite finishing in third place in District 9-2A behind No. 9 seed Amite High School (4-2, 3-0) and No. 18 seed Kentwood High School (4-2, 3-0).”

“Nothing surprised me with COVID and all this other stuff,” Norris said. “They’re the No. 4 team and we’re the No. 29 team. There’s always a lot of upsets in the first round, so why not us?”

Vidalia’s last game was on Nov. 13, a 48-16 loss at district champion Mangham High School. Despite the two-week layoff, Norris said he is not concerned about rust at all.

“At this time of year, it’s good for the bodies to rest up,” Norris said. “We’ve been practicing for 20 weeks, so rust is not much of a concern.”

As for the keys to victory, Norris said, “We can’t turn the ball over. We have to execute our game plan. Limit our mistakes and take advantage of theirs.”

When asked how the Thanksgiving holiday will affect practice this week, Norris said, “It’s different every year. We’ll practice early and then they can spend the rest of the day with their families. We expect everybody to show up.”

Even though St. Helena has not played in what will have been three weeks, the Hawks will be a big challenge for Vidalia.

“They’re a big, athletic team. They have played some good teams,” Norris said. “The district we play in, we play Ferriday, Mangham, Rayville and General Trass. They remind me of those teams. It’s going to be a good challenge.”

As for how many of Vidalia’s fans will be able to attend, Norris said, “I don’t know how many tickets they’ll give us. I expect about 100 or 200 of our fans to be there.”

LaSalle at Delta Charter

FERRIDAY — The Delta Charter School Storm will hit the field for the first time in four weeks when they play host to the LaSalle High School Tigers Friday night in the first round of the 2020 LHSAA Class 1A Playoffs.

Kickoff between No. 20 seed LaSalle and No. 13 seed Delta Charter is set for 7 p.m. Friday. The Storm last played on Thursday, Oct. 29, a 44-6 win at district foe Tensas High School. They had to cancel= their final three regular season games due to COVID-19 concerns.

Delta Charter head coach Blake Wheeler said while the team is ready to get back out on the field, he is concerned about how his team will come out.

“I am concerned about rust. We’ve talked with them about that. We’ve pushed it up some in practice,” Wheeler said.

LaSalle somehow made the playoffs despite going 1-5 overall and 0-2 in District 3-1A. Because of players testing positive for COVID-19 or contact tracing, the only two district opponents the Tigers played this season were St. Mary’s and Block — both on road. Yet they gave those teams everything they could handle in close losses.

LaSalle’s last regular-season game was on Friday, Nov. 6, a 40-0 home loss to Class 2A DeQuincy High School, which replaced district opponent Northwood-Lena High School.

Even though LaSalle finished in fifth place in District 3-1A, Wheeler said he is not taking the Tigers lightly.

“They run the ball more than any team we face,” Wheeler said. “They run it to the left, run to the right, run it up the middle. They play smash-mouth football.”

As for the keys to victory for his team, Wheeler said. “We have to take care of the football. Defensively, we have to work with our angles. We have to control the football. We have to play the possession game.”

Wheeler said he expects a good crowd to show up Friday night.

“Our fans travel well, whether we’re at home or on the road. LaSalle, they travel well. It’s going to be a playoff atmosphere. We expect a big crowd,” Wheeler said.