Are you for armed guards at schools?|
Story Archives: Vidalia hosts Class A title game
- 2013 - 290 articles
- 2012 - 856 articles
- 2011 - 635 articles
- 2010 - 1276 articles
- 2009 - 1591 articles
- 2008 - 1763 articles
|Vidalia hosts Class A title game|
This is the 29th in a 30-part series on the top football games played in Concordia Parish.
It was something Jimmy Hibbs could and would not talk about for the longest time.
It was December 16, 1966. The Vidalia Vikings were hosting Buras for the Class A state championship.
Hibbs was a key to the Vikings' success that season, rushing for 1,044 yards on 98 attempts for an amazing 10.6 yards per carry average and also caught 10 passes and scored 72 points. Hibbs and Mike Morgan stood back near their own end zone for the opening kickoff.
Morgan averaged 6.2 yards rushing per carry that season.
The kick sailed down the field and stopped on the 3-yard line, where a Buras lineman fell on it.
With only one minute taken off the clock, Wildcat quarterback Stuart Guey scored from one yard out to give the visiting team an early lead as Pete Dimak added the conversion kick.
"We just kind of stood and looked at it," Hibbs said. "And their coach yelled at their lineman to fall on it. That burdened me for a long time. But I realize now that play didn't beat us. They had an outstanding team. They actually had two touchdowns called back."
"We had back-to-back touchdowns called back," Guey said. "One was for a clip and another was for an illegal receiver downfield. The same player, a freshman, was called on both penalties. We were thinking, 'Man, what do we have to do.'"
Buddy Spillers, who played center and noseguard on that Vidalia team, said the Vikings had not seen a kicker like Dimak all year.
"I know Jimmy felt bad, but he's the one who got us to the show," Spillers said. "We actually thought that ball was going to roll into the end zone. But it was not our only mistake of the game and certainly did not lose the game for us."
Vidalia finished 5-6 in 1965.
"That senior team went undefeated as freshmen," Spillers said. "And we played Natchez and other teams like that. It was a very balanced group. And Don Alonzo was a wonderful coach. Fred Foster did a good job teaching us techniques when he was coach, and Coach Alonzo was a great motivator. In our first meeting he told us the 11 toughest guys were going to play, whether that meant having 11 quarterbacks or 11 guards. He motivated us, but he never raised his voice."
Alonzo, who coached at Natchez Cathedral earlier, moved up from assistant coach to head coach in 1966.
"Coach Alonzo came to me before the season and told me I was close to starting, but I would have to get better at blocking," Spillers said. "He told me I could come out and work with him and Coach (Larry) Legg. It was like having a math teacher taking you home to tutor you."
Buras, ranked No. 1 in Class 1A the entire year, would win the game 17-13.
Hibbs, who set Vidalia High rushing records his junior and season seasons, said the emotions ran high for that contest, much like a Vidalia-Ferriday game.
The Vidalia Town Council and Mayor Sydney Murray had proclaimed that day as "Vidalia Viking Day."
Alonzo, who joined Vidalia as Foster's assistant coach in 1964 after a successful run at Cathedral, had his troops more than ready for the contest.
"Coach Alonzo studied the game and we were very disciplined playing under him," Hibbs said. "He believed in physical training. Everything was very basic. It was three yards and a cloud of dust."
To show the Vikings were able to recover from the early setback, Vidalia took the second kick and marched 64 yards to paydirt with quarterback Billy Wiggins scoring from one yard out. The kick failed.
Late in the second quarter, the Wildcats moved to the Vidalia 21-yard line, but Vidalia's defense toughened. Dimak then hit a 40-yard field goal from a slight angle to give Buras a 10-6 halftime lead.
"That was the first time anyone ever kicked a field goal against us," Hibbs said. "(Alvin) 'Moose' Frazier looked at me and asked, 'When the heck did they score?' I told him I didn't remember them scoring either."
Guey said Dimak was actually a starting tailback going into the season.
"We were going somewhere and I was driving about 10 miles per hour when a dump truck pulled out in front of me," Guey said. "Pete broke his arm. He sat on the sidelines in a cast. About halfway through the season he just started practicing kicking the football."
Folllowing a scoreless third quarter, the Vikings took their only lead in the game as Wiggins connected with Allen Grabert on a 38-yard TD play.
Frazier, who rushed for 546 yards that year, added the conversion kick for a 13-10 Viking lead at halftime.
"We were in the lockerroom wondering what was going on," Guey said. "Just before we went back on the field, our fans got out of the bleachers and made a tunnel from the lockerroom to the field. We were thinking, 'Look how much they love us.' That turned the energy on for us."
Vidalia recovered a Buras fumble on the Buras 33-yard line with 4:25 remaining in the game.
But Vidalia was stopped on downs at the Wildcat 15-yard line.
Fullback Carlos Guttry carried the ball to the 40-yard line on a couple of carries.
"Carlos would throw up before every game," Suey said. "He did not do it before the Vidalia game and we were worried about that. But when we were almost to the field, he turned around and went in the lockerroom and threw up. We were like, 'Thank you, Lord.'"
Following a 2-yard loss and a run, Buras faced third and very short. That's when the hearts of Viking players and fans were broken.
"We had about three third downs we just made, with the last one Mays lunging to the get first down," Guey said. "And we also had a play where they tackled our receiver before he caught the ball and we got the interference call."
Guey hit Gary Mays on a 62-yard pass play for the winning score. Dimak added the point-after kick.
"We got the call to play in real tight," Hibbs said. "They faked a dive play and their quarterback lobbed the ball over everybody and their man walked into the end zone. That was one of the most disappointing losses I have ever been a part of."
"We sent two men downfield and then they went off toward the sideline and Mays went down the middle of the field," Guey said. "I remember seeing his No. 13 and one of Vidalia's linemen knocked the crap out of me. When I looked up, Gary was crossing the goal line and threw the ball straight up in the air."
Vidalia linebacker and kicker Danny Ford remembers that play, as well, from a different perspective.
Ford, a sophomore that season, broke his arm earlier in a junior varsity game and was walking up and down the sideline until the final minutes.
"The coaches had asked me to go up to the press box and get the stats," Ford said. "It was really tough to watch that game from the sideline. But when I was coming down the steps. I looked up and saw the pass and them go into the end zone. That was really, really tough."
Guey said Guttry and Mays ran 10-flat in the 100-yard dash.
"They they had a halfback who was like trying to catch a greased pig," Beach said. "He would be looking at you, and then he was gone."
Hibbs was held well below his season average.
"They had two people following me everywhere I went," Hibbs said.
"Hibbs and Wiggins were tough son of a guns," Guey said
Wiggins was intercepted by Mays at midfield on Vidalia's final series and the Wildcats ran out the clock.
"I was crying after the game because we lost the game and I also lost my horse," Beach said. "My dad promised me if we won that game he was going to get me a horse."
"We had people on the field hugging and crying," Guey said. "They finally just turned the lights out on us."
As a matter of fact, the partying seemed to start way before the game.
Walter Stampley, who started the Vidalia High football program in 1952 and coached it until becoming principal in 1958, said Buras fans arrived at 4:30 p.m. with a tub full of beer.
"I really didn't know what to do," Stampley said. "I had never had anything like that happen before."
Vidalia beat Newman 15-0 to advance to the finals after cruising past Homer (32-7) and DeQuincy (33-6).
Buras outscored Franklinton and Ascension by a total score of 68-0 before defeating Mansfield to advance to the title game.
"Things started happening for us in district," Spillers said. "When we got to the playoffs, we were picked to lose every game. Mike DeSalvo played center and noseguard for Newman. I weighed 180 pounds and he weighed 230 pounds and he was big and mean. We watched the film and he dominated everybody. Coach Alonzo took me off to the side, put his arms around me and told me this guy was going to beat me up, just do the best I could. I was scared to death. But that fear motivated me. I hit him with a forearm to his face as hard as I could the first play. I ended up handling him pretty good."
Spillers was injured late in the game after getting clipped.
The Vikings, who finished the season at 10-2-1, with the tie being a 13-13 game against Ferriday, were well represented on the Class A All-State team.
Frazier was named Offensive Specialist of the Year in Class A.
Frazier, Wiggins, Hibbs, Spillers and Beach were named to the first team, while Grabert and David Yates were named to the second team.
Grabert finished with 19 catches for 342 yards and four touchdowns.
Beach had 10 unassisted tackles and 70 assists.
Frazier totaled 14 unassisted tackles and had 92 assists.
Named to the All-District 2A team on offense and defense were Spillers (Most Outstanding Lineman), Wiggins (Most Outstanding Back), Frazier and Hibbs. Grabbert, Beach, David Yates and Bobby Patten were also named to the district first team.
Larry Boles at guard and Beach on defense were on the second team, while Morgan, Bobby Spinks and Monty Braley were named as honorable mentions on the all-district team.
"That was the best all-around football team Vidalia has ever had," said Hibbs, who also had 14 unassisted tackles and four assists on defense. "We had so many quality players. And we grew up playing football, basketball and baseball together. We were a very close group."
Vidalia would advance to the quarterfinals in 1967, playing to a 0-0 tie with Kinder, but losing out because Kinder had 11 first downs to five for Vidalia.
Late in the third quarter of that game, Morgan returned a punt 51 yards to the Kinder 6-yard line, but the Vikings fumbled the ball away at the Yellow Jacket 2-yard line.
|Frank Morris Murder Series|