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|Vidalia rebounds against Bunkie|
After going two straight games without scoring a point in the first half, Vidalia High's football team wasted very little time getting on the board and maintained that lead throughout in a 26-12 win over Bunkie to open its District 3-3A schedule.
"That was definitely our best game of the year," said Vidalia coach Dee Faircloth. "Our offense line did a good job and got that surge and our defensive line put a lot of pressure on them."
The win also snapped a two-game losing streak in which the Vikings were outscored 74-14.
"That was big for our momentum," Faircloth said. "Our kids should be ready to play the next four games. If we can get that kind of effort every Friday night, we can play with anybody in the district."
Vidalia controlled the game on the line as the Vikings totaled 323 yards, while the Vidalia defense held Bunkie quarterback Kendrick Leary to two yards rushing in the first half and 83 passing after the Panther quarterback rushed for 101 yards and passed for 75 against Episcopal a week earlier.
"Our kids were not ready to play," said Bunkie head coach Bruce Webb. "Vidalia came to play and they did real well. I was pretty impressed. They took it to us and we never got in the game."
After holding Bunkie to minus-5 yards on its first possession, Tri McCoy returned a punt 17 yards to the Panther 48.
An 11-yard pass from Caleb Vines to McCoy was followed by four straight runs by Kevin Johnson, with the final gallop covering seven yards for the score.
"That first score was very big," Faircloth said.
Johnson, finished with 244 yards on 30 carries despite fighting a virus all day.
"I didn't know if he was going to be able to play," Faircloth said. "Maybe he should be that sick every week."
Vines ran in the conversion to give the Vikings an 8-0 lead.
A 29-yard punt return by Johnson gave Vidalia the ball back at their own 49-yard line.
A 25-yard pass from Vines to Marvin Payne moved the ball to the Panther 23-yard line where on the next play Johnson scampered in for the score. The conversion failed leaving Vidalia with a 14-0 lead. A 25-yard return on the ensuing kickoff set Bunkie up at its 48.
But Vidalia held again and Leary hit a line drive punt that rolled toward the Bunkie sideline before curving and dancing down the sideline for 25 yards before stopping at the Viking 3-yard line.
Vidalia moved the ball to its 37-yard line, but an interception gave Bunkie possession at the Viking 19.
Two plays later, Cody Davis scored on a 7-yard run. The conversion kick was blocked.
Vidalia moved the ball back down the field, but fumbled it away on the Bunkie 7-yard line.
Vidalia stopped the Panthers on their 39-yard line but the Panthers got the ball back on their 31-yard line on a change of possession. Facing fourth-and-2 at the Vidalia 40, Davis raced 15 yards to the 25.
Two plays later, Leary scored on a 23-yard run with 18 seconds remaining. The conversion failed, leaving Vidalia with a 14-12 lead, which stayed that way until halftime.
"We should have been up by three touchdowns in the first half," Faircloth said. "After you knock somebody to the canvas, you need to keep pounding. Not us, we say, 'c'mon get back up and see if we can go a little further.'"
Vidalia went on a 10-play, 76-yard drive that ate up almost six minutes of the third period as Johnson scored up the middle on a 36-yard run. The conversion failed leaving the Vikings with a 20-12 lead with 6:25 remaining.
Bunkie was stopped on downs at the Vidalia 45.
After a change of possessions, Vidalia moved down to the Bunkie 30 yard line where they were stopped on downs with 5:57 remaining.
Neither team was able to threaten the remainder of the game until Johnson broke loose on a 35-yard run to the Bunkie 1-yard line with just over a minute remaining. Johnson scored two plays later to seal the win.
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