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Story Archives: Not quite a classic
|Not quite a classic|
Ferriday 20, Vidalia 14.
It sounds like another classic in a parish rivalry filled with classics.
Well, not quite.
Not that the game was not exciting. And not that two winless teams did not play hard — quite the contrary.
Blame it on the zebras.
When they weren't throwing their flags (20 penalties for 175 yards), which it seem occurred on each series - they were not throwing their flags on obvious penalties, re-setting the chains because they had instructed the chain crew erroneously, measuring for a first down when it was obvious it was not, and not measuring for a first down when mere inches seemed to be the difference.
And it was not slanted one way or the other, these guys were just terrible.
OK, I shouldn't throw out all the dirty wash.
The two line judges were incompetent.
Vidalia High head coach Gary Paul Parnham had to run out on the field to get an equipment time out after Jonterris Townsend's shoe came off. The side official watched him throw it to the side.
Ferriday High head coach Cleothis Cummings had three on-field meetings with the head official, and was obviously not happy with his explanation.
The contest lasted two hours and 45 minutes. There was not a lot of flow, through no fault of either team.
And I want to emphasize, the officiating was not slanted one way or the other. It was just bad.
There was no obvious pass interference call blown or ghost penalties.
The most serious mistake I saw was when officials did not notice the play clock at 0 before Ferriday snapped the ball and converted a fourth-and-two near midfield on a faked punt.
But that was not the difference in the game.
And I want to concentrate on the game, because both teams played hard and the emotions were typical Ferriday-Vidalia.
There is no way of knowing, but my guess would be this parish rivalry contest saw more underclassmen playing than any other.
And both teams were playing without their starting quarterbacks.
Ferriday's Shannon Morales, who dislocated his shoulder in the season-opener against Natchez, and Vidalia's Michael Whitley, who sprained his knee against Delhi Charter in the second game, watched from the sidelines.
Ferriday freshman Ronald Davis - yes, folks he is 13 years old, made his second straight start, and once again did a very credible job. He is a waterbug when he breaks out of the pocket.
Vidalia basically had two quarterbacks in the backfield in a Notre Dame Box variation that had senior Stewart Mallory and freshman Jonterris Townsend taking snaps.
Townsend showed he has the potential to be talked about in the same way as past Vidalia running back greats, carrying the ball 29 times for 151 yards.
Mallory had one of his best games, gutting out 48 yards on 13 carries and willing himself to a couple of first downs.
And there were even glimpses of the Junkyard Dog defense and Killer Vees defense.
Ferriday had a great goalline stand in the first quarter, and Vidalia's defense had a safety and held Ferriday to 42 total yards in the first half.
No, it wasn't an instant classic. But it was a hard-played and clean football contest between two rivals. And, despite the guys in stripes, that was way more than good enough. Both teams clearly left it on the field. The rivalry is alive and well.
Now if we can just get some decent officials to handle future games, we can all enjoy it.
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