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Story Archives: Something missing at Ferriday-Vidalia game
|Something missing at Ferriday-Vidalia game|
I called my son, Jake, Friday at 7:20 p.m. to give him an update on the Vidalia-Ferriday football game with the contest tied at 7-7.
"What's the atmosphere like?," Jake asked.
One thing Jake will always remember from his time as a young boy going to games with me on Friday nights - the atmosphere of Ferriday-Vidalia football games.
In the late 90s when he was in grade school he realized going to Melz Field or Viking Stadium for a Ferriday-Vidalia contest was a whole lot different than any other game.
Then in the early 2000s when Vidalia fielded a couple of its top teams ever, the atmosphere was just as electric.
Later in the decade, Jake experienced it first-hand as a Viking football player. As a matter of fact, his senior team won in Ferriday, one of only five Viking squads to beat Ferriday in Ferriday.
And before he was born, you had fans clamoring for a seat or a spot in the fence when Nathaniel Williams and Keith Woodside and Darnell Jones and Eddie Ray Jackson were chewing up the gridiron.
"Well, son, it's not anything like it used to be. As a matter of fact, it ain't even close."
Granted, Ferriday and Vidalia are both rebuilding right now.
And the Ferriday band is about a third of the numbers it used to be in its heyday (talk about adding to an atmosphere). And the Vidalia band can travel in a van with a trailer hooked on, as a good friend told me.
The bands add a whole lot to a football game.
But even besides all that, most fans at the game were just not really into it. That doesn't count the diehard Trojan fans who live and die on every play and had a lot more to cheer about. There are still a number of them around. But they are outnumbered by the younger fans who just are content to walk around scoping out the scene and not a bit interested in the ball game. And there were quite a few from Vidalia the same way.
Then you had those people who were too busy texting scores to friends who said they had better things to do than come to the game or use that old worn-out excuse about expecting trouble.
Bulletin — it's more dangerous to go to the Natchez Mall.
I do realize that Vidalia-Ferriday games do not have the meanings they used to have. But the good news is both teams have some outstanding freshman football players as well as junior high players.
Both teams will be much more competitive over the next three-to-five years. Look for much more competitive games in the future. I can only hope the atmosphere also returns.
So I have been to three games this year and watched three contests with at least 30 flags thrown in each contest.
I realize a lot of area teams are young and are going to make mistakes. But there sure seems to be a lot of "ticky-tacky" stuff being called that takes away from the flow of the game.
Vidalia's Michael Whitley was whistled for a personal foul after hitting a Ferriday receiver when the ball went by him.
"That's OK, Michael, I thought he caught the ball, as well," shouted Vidalia coach Gary Paul Parnham.
Domino was flagged for pushing Whitley down from the back after he had thrown a pass.
"This ain't the NFL," Ferriday coach Richard Oliver screamed. "He's not Peyton Manning."
I'm all for protecting the players, but the officials now seem to be getting paid by the flag.
And in the Vidalia-Delhi Charter game, the head official kept stopping the game under the five-minute mark with Delhi Charter leading 42-7.They even got called twice for too much time.
"We were trying to run the clock out," said Delhi Charter coach Brett Raley.
Those guys in stripes have a lot to do with the atmosphere as well.
Here's hoping things pick up in the future in the parish on the field and around the field in regards to the Concordia Parish championship game. The electricity just ain't what it used to be.
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