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|Vikings seek return to playoffs|
After two straight four-win seasons, veteran Vidalia High football coach Dee Faircloth is looking to getting back on the winning record side and return to the playoffs for the first time since 2004.
Faircloth must replace Kevin Johnson, who rushed for 1,215 yards on 199 carries and 21 touchdowns and also dominated on the defensive side.
"We've got nine starters back on offense, but we have a big hole to fill with Kevin," Faircloth said
Faircloth returns junior quarterback Caleb Vines (6-0, 175), who completed 59-of-110 passed for 1,065 yards and eight touchdowns last season.
"Caleb is a key," Faircloth said. "We have to keep him healthy."
Senior Mason Ozburn backs up Vines.
Taking the load in the backfield will be senior Quan Riley (5-9, 195).
Senior Joe Williams (5-8, 230), junior Dee Fleming (5-8, 170), senior Van Thompson 5-10, 255) will also see carries.
"Van is like Jerome Bettis back there," Faircloth said. "He's going to get the ball a lot more this year."
Fleming who caught 16 passes for 313 yards last season.
Junior Tri McCoy (5-11, 175) will be at wingback.
"Tri is a Division I prospect," Faircloth said.
The offensive line consists of senior John Brixey (6-1, 240), senior Ben Parnham 6-2, 295), junior D.J. Polk (6-1, 285), senior Chase Smith (5-11, 215) and senior Stephen Wells (6-1, 280).
"We have to keep Brixey healthy," Faircloth said of the left tackle who missed most of last year with a shoulder injury. "He can be one of the best ever we've had here."
Also seeing action will be senior Hodges Crumb (5-10, 200) and junior Caleb Holland (5-6, 225).
The tight end is junior Reggie Reynolds (6-0, 165).
At wide receiver is senior Gary Stewart (6-4, 185).
Faircloth said his defense will be a lot quicker this season.
"We need to be better on defense," Faircloth said.
The defensive line consists of Thompson, Brixey, Parnham, senior Seth Barlow (5-9, 160) and Riley.
Thompson had 47 solo tackles, 27 assists and three sacks.
Also seeing action will be senior Chris Thomas (5-10, 205), Crumb, freshman Garrett Keating (6-3, 210), junior Heath White (5-7, 195) and junior Walter Jones (6-1, 325).
Faircloth is looking for more play out of his linebacking group this season.
Williams returns at linebacker, along with Ozburn and Fleming.
Defensive backs are Stewart, sophomore Jamale Davis (5-7, 150) and McCoy. Vines,
Vines, junior Jamon Duson (5-7, 155), junior Logan Moon (5-10, 170) and junior Darrell Wilson (6-0, 155) will also see action.
Brixey will be kicking, while Barlow will handle the punting.
Faircloth is beginning his 41st year has head coach at Vidalia, joining the school in 1968 as an assistant coach to Don Alonzo.
"Maybe the only tougher job is farming because you are depending on mother nature," Faircloth said. "Our living depends on 14- and 15-year-olds trying to execute our game plans."
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