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|Vidalia, Block played for title in Mud Bowl|
Editor's note: Former Vidalia High football coach Dalton "Dee" Faircloth was head football coach at Vidalia High from 1969 to 2009.
Concordia Sentinel summer intern Jake Martin sat down with Faircloth and asked the longtime Viking coach to pick his top five football games from his 41-year career at the school. This is the third of a five-part series.
By Jake Martin
A game that saw 211 total yards of total offense, 13 points, a battle for field position and lots and lots of mud made Dee Faircloth's list of top five games at No .3 for his most memorable games.
The 1979 Vidalia Vikings battled the Block Bears in the last game of the regular season and defeated the Bears 7-6 to make the playoffs. The Vikings and Bears played for the second spot in District 4-AA for a playoff berth on an extremely muddy field.
As a matter of fact, most schools in the Miss-Lou postponed their game a day to Saturday.
"We called it the Mud Bowl," Faircloth said. "The winner went to the playoffs, and it was a slobber-knocker."
Faircloth said that Vidalia and Block had a big rivalry back then, and that Block had a great football team.
"They were under Joe Bondurant, who happened to be my suite mate in college (ULM), so you know there was going to be some rivalry right there," Faircloth said. "They were killing people. I mean, Block was an outstanding ball club. I remember Joe talking to me earlier that week, and he said, 'My boys think they're the Dallas Cowboys.' That's how I motivated my kids. I said, 'Boys, we're playing the Dallas Cowboys Friday.' I pounded that into them."
Former Vidalia center Mark Archer said that type of motivation wasn't unusual.
"We did all kind of stuff for motivation back then," Archer said. "I don't remember if that was the same game, but I hung a bear on the top of the stadium with a noose around the neck just to make the other team mad. Coach Faircloth got mad, because he thought it would motivate them."
"That was so long ago," said former assistant coach Johnny Lee Hoffpauir, who handled the Viking offense. "Coach Faircloth has the memory of an elephant when it comes to football. I can't remember yesterday, but I do remember it rained all day. We're going, 'Oh, this is not going to be good', and I remember wearing boots. We were knee deep in water just to get to the field."
Block scored on the opening possession of the game after running back Craig Neal took the ball 55 yards to the end zone. Block's two-point conversion failed when Vidalia's Otis Fair and Jeff Harrell stopped Neal on the conversion attempt.
Following the Block score, Vidalia marched the ball down the field and capped off the drive with a 22-yard touchdown run by quarterback Donald Moseley.
"It was one of those game that whoever made the fewest mistakes won the game," Hoffpauir said. "It was a hard hitting game. I remember Donald Moseley was running people over. It was nice to have a physical specimen handling the ball."
Moseley kicked the extra point, and that would be all the scoring that took place that night.
"Nobody made a yard, nowhere," Faircloth said. "The mud didn't help. We were in the driving rain and the ball was slick. Nobody could get their footing."
"It was a sloppy mess," Archer said. "It seemed like it had rained for a month."
Faircloth said that the game saw a lot of three-and-outs.
The Vikings finished with 107 total yards and Block had 104. Faircloth said that field position became a key factor in that game and Chuck DeWeese helped the Vikings with his punting.
"That was a heckuva game, and I had a punter named Chuckie DeWeese who kept us in that game with his punts," Faircloth said.
DeWeese punted the ball five times for a 41-yard average in the muddy conditions.
"It was absolutely difficult," DeWeese said. "You couldn't get any footing, and the ball was so slick. Block was pouring on the pressure too. Every time we had to punt we were in terrible field position."
"That was probably one of the best punters that I ever coached."
Vikings held on to win 7-6, and Faircloth said that Archer told him something that he'd never forget.
"After the game, my center Marc Archer said 'Coach, the team wants to give you this' and it was the game ball," Faircloth said. "I laughed and said, 'The game ball? Where'd you get this game ball?' He looked at me and said, 'Dallas!'"
Next week: Game No. 2.
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