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|Ferriday ends streak|
This is the fifth in a 30-part series on the top football games played in Concordia Parish.
Vidalia's longest winning streak in its series with Ferriday is four games, starting with the second game ever played between the two schools.
That streak was broken on Friday, October 23, 1965 at Melz Field in Ferriday as the Bulldogs pulled out a hard-earned 7-0 win.
"I have many, many fond memories of my athletic days as a Ferriday Bulldog," said standout running back Jehu Brabham. "Right at the top of that list is all the competitions will the Vidalia Vikings. Most of the players on both teams competed against each other beginning in the sixth and seventh grade. By the time we reached high school the rivalry was quite intense."
Ferriday entered the game at 2-4 under first-year coach Tommy Bankston.
Vidalia sported a 3-3 mark under Fred Foster.
"The week leading up to the game was filled with a lot of excitement and school enthusiasm," Brabham said. "The pep rally on Friday was probably the most spirited I ever participated in during my high school days. Fans from both Ferriday and Vidalia piled into the stands for the game. In fact, it was standing room only. I remember people standing all around the fence and even in the end zone. It was nothing like running out onto to field to the sounds of the band and look down to the other end of the field and see your arch-rival. I could hardly wait to 'get it on!' The game was a really hard fought, bruising, tough defensive battle. There was some vicious hits passed by both teams."
"It was the rivalry of rivalries," said former Vidalia High lineman Tommy Lanius. "You lose that game and you could not hold your head up around the community. It was awesome getting ready for that game with all the hype."
"It was always blood and guts when we played Ferriday," said former VIdalia All-State lineman Alford Beach.
Vidalia brought a 3-3 record to Ferriday. The Bulldogs entered the game at 2-4. But as fans of both schools can tell you even today — the records do not matter when these two teams take the field.
Ferriday won the first-ever contest between both schools in 1960, defeating the VIkings 30-7.
But Vidalia reeled off four straight wins, including a 20-0 in 1964.
Through five games, Jimmy Hibbs rushed for 418 yards for a 7.1 average per carry. Alvin Frazier had 264 yards through five games, while Johnny Frederick had 116 yards through six contests.
Ferriday was led in rushing by David James with 150 yards through three games.
Bulldog quarterback Paul Ferris completed 24 of 74 passes for 369 yards, with Larry Vestal catching 19 passes for 120 yards.
The Vikings had two goal line stands in the first half. Ferriss completed a 38-yard pass to Jehu Brabham to the Vidalia 2-yard line.
But two running plays up the middle and two around end failed to get the ball into the end zone and the Vikings took over.
The first half ended with the score knotted at 0-0.
Ferriday's J.D. Martin kept Vidalia backed up with his punting.
Ferriday faced fourth-and-15 in the final period at midfield when Ferriss passed to Brabham, who lateraled the ball to James who carried it inside the Viking 20-yard line.
Ferriss then completed a pass to Ted Vestal in the flat where Vestal carried the ball to the Vidalia 4-yard line.
James carried the ball into the end zone. Phil Templeton added the kick. Vidalia was unable to move the ball and the game ended with the Bulldogs winning their third straight contest.
"Basically, the game came down to the fourth quarter," Brabham said. "For several weeks we had been practicing a special trick play called the 'Georgia Specia'l. It was a pass from Ferris to me, then a lateral to running back David James. The play was identical to a play that the University of Georgia used earlier in the college season to defeat Alabama.
"With only a few minutes remaining in the game, and it being fourth down and 15 yards for a first down, we called the 'Georgia Special.' I remember running down the field about 12 yards, tunring around, and Paul had the ball straight on line to me. When it hit my hands I felt the defensive back from Vidalia tackle me from the back. However, just as he hit me, I was able to pitch the ball to David James who ran the ball down to about the 5-yard line. A couple of plays later we scored. It was one of the greatest victories in my athletic career."
Ferriss would miss the entire 1966 season after breaking his foot in the jamboree against Vidalia.
That game featured a brief brawl after both teams were scrambling for a loose football.
Vidalia, which would host the Class A state championship game in 1966, finished the season at 6-5, while the Bulldogs finished 4-6.
Brabham is now administrator of Parkway Baptist Church in Clinton, Miss., and is an alderman at-large and Mayor Pro Tempore for the City of Clinton, said he treasures those playing days at Ferriday High.
Brabham received two football scholarship offers, but elected to accept a basketball scholarship to Mississippi College.
Brabham scored 535 points his sophomore year in 1968-69.
The next two years he joined the 700 club. The only other member is Howard Sessums, who played in 1954-55.
Brabham scored 707 points in his junior year (27.2 ppg) and 708 in his senior year (30.7 ppg).
He also holds the school record for most points scored in a game with 57 against Principia in 1970 and the most consecutive free throws made with 33 and most consecutive free throws made in a game with 18 against University of West Florida.
"As I look back nearly 47 years, I still have some very special memories about playing the Vikings," Brabham said. "However, the older I get the most special memories are not about the excitement of the game or the rivalry. Even though I really enjoyed the tough, hard-fought, bitterly-contested battles with the Vikings. Most of all I cherish the memories of playing with some wonderful Bulldogs teammates, as well as players on the Vikings.
"Friendships developed through athletic competition is what I remember the best," Braham said. "Paul Ferris, David Traxler, Dee Reed, J. D. Martin, Curtis Burnette, Larry Dale Vestal, and other Bulldogs will always have a special place in my heart. Then my Viking friends, many of who I have not seen since that game — Billy Wiggins, Moose Frazier, Tommy Lanius, and Ronnie Hebert. The Ferriday versus Vidalia was rivalry based on hard, fair play and mutal respect for each other. It was athletic competition like it should be. I will always be proud of my Ferriday heritage and honored to have worn the blue and orange."
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