Are you for armed guards at schools?|
Story Archives: Miracle finish at Vidalia
|Miracle finish at Vidalia|
This is the 16th in a 30-part series on the top football games played in Concordia Parish.
Vidalia High's road to the Superdome in 2003 came up one game short at West St. John, where the Vikings fell to the eventual state champions in the Class 2A semifinals.
But the road started in Viking Stadium on September 5 in one of the craziest finishes in the long, storied history of the Vidalia-Block series.
"Block was a tough game because it was the first game of the year, and although our defense was always really good we never practiced defense live so this was our first time running and hitting live as a team," said lineman Matt Hinson. "Block was hard for a few of us because we had people in new positions who had never played that position before, especially me. I went from end to tackle so it took me about two games to get a good hang of it. Block was tough, but as we had heard every year, Block had only beaten us once in 1985. So we were not going to be the team that made it the second time no matter how close it was."
The Vikings, coming off a undefeated regular season, would be on their way to another one. But it would be tested right off the bat.
Block stopped Vidalia on downs at the Bear 31 with 3:40 remaining in the contest.
Chad Harkins then went into his clock-eating double wing offense.
"I told Benny (then assistant coach Benny Vault), 'At least we got this monkey off our back,'" said Harkins, now the head football coach at Grant High School. "That should have been it."
But on first down, Block running back Michael Griffin bobbled the short pitch before being hit by Viking junior Ken Johnson. The ball shot straight up into the air and down into the hands of 5-foot-5, 140-pound C.J. Williams, who sidestepped a couple of defenders and raced to the end zone for what would be the final score of the game.
"I was thinking Chad had us beat, but by some miracle we won that game," said Vidalia coach Dee Faircloth. "I've always said I would rather be lucky than good."
Harkins said he almost changed the play that led to the winning score.
"I remember calling the play, a toss we run all the time," Harkins said. "After calling the play, I stopped our quarterback and was going to tell him to just hand off to the fullback. He stopped and looked at me, but I said, ''Never mind, go ahead and run the play.' We ran that play all the time."
Vidalia scored first when Bear punter Demetrius Bowie was ruled down on his 33-yard line when his knee touched the ground fielding the snap.
Four plays later, Michael Randall, who led all rushers with 93 yards on 19 carries, scored from 14 yards out, giving the Vikings a 6-0 lead 4:38 remaining in the first half.
A fumble recovery by Vidalia's Louis McNulty on Block's first series of the second half at the Bear 13-yard line led to a 6-yard run by Randall for a 12-0 lead.
Block, ranked No. 7 in Class A, got on the board with 30 seconds remaining in the third period as Griffin scored from one yard out. Jeremy Washington ran in the conversion for a 14-8 score.
The Bears took the lead with 7:39 remaining in the game as Reginald Bowie intercepted a Tony Hawkins pass at the Viking 15-yard line and returned it to the six.
Three plays later, Griffin scored from three yards out. Washington kicked the point-after to put Block up 14-12.
Vidalia moved to the Block 24 before turning it over on downs at the 31 to set up the miracle finish.
On its final possession, Block converted a fourth-and-20 with a 25-yard pass from Bowie to Washington.
Griffin was stopped at the line of scrimmage on fourth-and-three at the Vidalia 33 to end the game.
"I remember our defense being on the field a long time," said Viking linebacker Brett Hinson. "It was an early season game and they seemed to move the ball well. I felt like we played better when we played against a better team or was picked to lose the game. And, of course, the old pep talk from Coach Faircloth always referring to us as Rodney Dangerfield."
|Frank Morris Murder Series|