Vidalia’s season ends at St. Helena in Class 2A first round

Published 12:52 pm Saturday, November 28, 2020

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GREENSBURG, La. — The Vidalia High School Vikings played a solid game last Friday night against St. Helena College and Career Academy, but their upset bid came up short as they lost to the Hawks 28-16 in the first round of the 2020 LHSAA Class 2A Playoffs.

Earlier in the week, Vikings head coach Michael Norris said, “They’re the No. 4 team. We’re the No. 29 team. There’s been a lot of upsets in the first round. Why not us?”

And that was the mentality Vidalia had going into this game. Unfortunately, the Vikings did not have enough drives end in touchdowns.

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“We had a chance to score and we were driving and we had some mental mistakes that killed drives. That cost us more than anything,” Norris said. “Our kids fought hard. We gave up a couple of big plays. They had a 4th down play. They had a 3rd and 15. We had the receiver. We couldn’t make a play on the ball. They had a screen play that went 50 yards.”

Despite giving up those big plays, Norris said that Vidalia was in the game the entire time and that the Vikings battled until the final whistle blew at the end.

“I couldn’t be more proud of them. We had a chance to win the game,” Norris said. “We have a bunch of young kids. We had 16 freshmen and sophomores. They fought their guts out.”

Even though this was Vidalia’s first game in two weeks, Norris said he was really pleased with the effort the players gave against a good Hawks team — even though a few things didn’t go their way.

“I thought our guys left everything on the field. I don’t think they have any regrets,” Norris said.

When asked if the field conditions played a role in the game, Norris said, “Of course, but we’re a running team this year. Our line did a good job. We ran the ball well (Friday) night. I don’t think we turned the ball over any.”

In fact, the Vikings won the turnover battle as their defense had two interceptions and a fumble recovery. Norris added, “Our kids did a good job protecting the ball and keeping us in the game.”

This the final game for Vidalia seniors Christian Davis, Brett Walsworth, R’Kyrin McMillan, and Daniel Hartwell. Norris said that he wish the Vikings would have sent those players out with one more win.

“I can’t say enough about how those seniors were leaders for the young guys,” Norris said. “I think they showed themselves (Friday) night what they can be. Our mantra is ‘Get better every day.’ I know it was a short season, but it felt like it was the longest season. All we went through, the 22 weeks of practice and the games we played, they showed up. I wish we could have sent the seniors with one more win because they gave us their heart and soul.”

With the loss, Vidalia finished its season with an overall record of 1-5.

Number 4 seed St. Helena College and Career Academy improved to 4-3 overall and will take on No. 13 seed Bunkie High School in the second round. Bunkie defeated No. 20 seed Pickering 22-6 to keep its season going.