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Story Archives: Vikings win 'Mud Bowl'
|Vikings win 'Mud Bowl'|
This is the sixth in a 30-part series on the top football games played in Concordia Parish.
When Vidalia High moved from District 2-AA to District 4-AA in 1979, you can bet the Vikings had the final regular season game with rival and new district foe Block highlighted.
And rightly so. When they did meet on Nov. 9, both teams entered the game with 2-1 district marks, one game behind Bunkie.
With only the top two teams advancing to the playoffs, this final regular season game at Viking Stadium was to see who would keep playing and who's season was done.
Block featured 1,000-yard rusher Joe Shively and quarterback Chris Ryan
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 encounter between the Vidalia Vikings and Block Bears was a game full of mud, defense, punting and more mud.
All other schools in the Miss-Lou postponed their games until Saturday because the conditions were that bad.
"We called it the Mud Bowl," said former Vidalia High head coach Dee Faircloth. "The winner went to the playoffs, and it was a slobber-knocker."
"Vidalia's defense was tough enough to run against, and then you added the mud." Joe Shively said. "It was hard to get any traction."
As for the buzz surrounding the game, it was amplified due to a little trash talking from Faircloth's old suite mate, Joe Bondurant, who happened to be Block's head coach.
"I remember Joe talking to me earlier that week, and he said, 'My boys think they're the Dallas Cowboys,'" Faircloth said. "That's how I motivated my kids. I said, 'Boys, we're playing the Dallas Cowboys Friday.' I pounded that into them."
"One of the most memorable parts of my coaching career was playing against Dee Faircloth," Bondurant said. "He is one of the best coaches in the history of Louisiana."
Bondurant had the Block school bus pull up to the gate right before kickoff and the players got off just before kickoff, already dressed for the game.
"It was still raining some, so I knew warm-up was not going to be good," Bondurant said. "We just ran up and down the sideline a little bit to get loose. That game had a lot of implications, so I knew we were going to play it. The weather definitely had an impact."
Monterey Athletic Director Cary Shively was a wide receiver on that team.
"As players, we never even thought about playing or not playing," Shively said. "After the first quarter it became a mudfest."
Block would only lose two games that year, a 3-0 heartbreaker to Bunkie and 7-6 to Vidalia.
"It was heartbreaking, but that's the way it is in sports," Joe Shively said.
It wasn't uncommon for Faircloth to use something to motivate his players, Texas High School assistant coach and former Vidalia lineman Jeff Harrell recalled.
"I remember a lot of things that coach did for motivation," Harrell said. "He always did a great job getting us ready to play. Playing high school football was one of my favorite memories because of the camaraderie and coaches that we had."
Harrell said Faircloth was a big influence on him as he went into coaching, and it was men like Faircloth that brought him such joys as sitting with his former high school running back Adrian Peterson in the green room in New York City for the NFL draft.
But that's not to say Faircloth was the only one playing mind games, as former Vidalia center Mark Archer devised something to get under Block's skin before the game.
"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," Archer said.
Once the pre-game chatter and festivities dialed down, the fans gathered 'round to see a defensive struggle between two teams on a sloppy playing surface.
But despite the mud, the game started off with a bang. Behind running back Craig Neal and quarterback Chris Ryan, Block scored on their opening position following a 55-yard touchdown run by Neal. Harrell and Otis Fair would stop Neal on the conversion attempt..
"I was thinking at least we got some points on the board before this gets good and dug up," Bondurant said.
Following Block's opening drive, the Vikings marched the ball down the field and capped off their 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," said former Vidalia quarterback and head baseball coach Johnny Lee Hoffpauir. "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."
Immediately after his touchdown run, Moseley kicked the extra point to put the Vikings up 7-6. That score would hold the rest of the night.
Block had a touchdown called back after Cary Shively was in punt formation around the Viking 40-yard line and the ball was snapped over his head.
Shively ran the football down, looked downfield and threw it to a Block player waving his hands.
The player, a former tight end playing guard, caught the ball and scored a touchdown. But after the officials were able to see his number, a flag was thrown and Block had to punt again.
The game featured 211 total yards of offense, 13 points and multiple punts from the Vikings' Chuckie DeWeese.
"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."
Following the game, Archer found Faircloth and told him something that he would never forget.
"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!'"
Vidalia lost to Winnfield 28-6 in the first round of the playoffs. Winnfield was led by LSU signees Jeffrey Dale and Ricky Chatman, and all-State center Tommy Campbell.
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