Defense, special teams key to Vidalia’s comeback win at Cedar Creek

Published 11:42 pm Friday, September 8, 2023

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RUSTON, La. — Louis Jordan’s 70-yard punt return for a touchdown early in the third quarter gave Vidalia High School the momentum it needed and Ephram Clark’s big-time punt early in the fourth quarter led to a safety as the Vikings held on for a 14-12 win over the Cedar Creek School Cougars last Friday night.

In what Vidalia head coach Joshua West called “a sloppy game,” all three phases of the game turned out to be huge for the Vikings after getting off to a slow start. The wet and muddy field at Cedar Creek after heavy rain hit that part of Louisiana in recent days did not help.

“The game started off pretty slow. The first half was very sluggish because of the wet field,” West said. “We had some big plays. Marc Perkins caught a touchdown pass from Elmari ‘Juice’ Lewis that got us on the scoreboard in the second quarter.”

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Then Jordan helped give the Vikings their first lead of the game on a spectacular punt return in which he went to the left and then back across the field

“It was a dynamic play for him because he’s a senior. He’s the leader of this team,” West said about Jordan.

Then Clark stepped up early in the fourth quarter as his biggest punt of the game pinned the Cougars deep in their own territory — their own two-yard line.

“Our punter had a magnificent punt. That’s the reason we had that safety. That safety was a big-time play. That won the game for us,” West said. Those two points gave Vidalia a 14-6 lead with about 11 minutes left in the game.

But Cedar Creek (0-2) would not go down easy on its home turf. Gray Worthey scored on a rushing touchdown, but the try for two and the tie was unsuccessful and the Vikings held on for the win. Tyson Davis stepped up for Vidalia’s defense with two forced fumbles.

“Defense forced turnovers and played physical, especially in the second half. Ephram flipped the field all night,” West said.

Vidalia (2-0) plays host to Block High School in what will be the Vikings’ official home opener next Friday at 7 p.m.