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|Vidalia-Delhi was defensive gem|
Vidalia's Vikings went 8-2-2 in 1973, allowing only 14 points during the regular season, stringing together a streak of holding opponents scoreless for 37 straight quarters before being scored on by St. Louis in the playoffs.
The 37 scoreless quarters tied a mark set by Springhill in 1969. It would be broken by Teurlings Catholic in 1982 when they held opponents to 44 straight scoreless quarters.
But eight quarters of that streak found the Vikings also without a score.
The Vikings played to back-to-back 0-0 games against Delhi and Mangham in District 2-2A action.
"It rained and rained before the Mangham game," said Vidalia's George Cupit, who went to play football at LSU. "We were standing in the end zone and the water was over our ankles."
The Vikings faced Delhi on October 19, with both teams carrying 5-1 overall records and unbeaten in district.
"I went and scouted Delhi the week before because they played Waterproof on a Thursday night," said Vidalia coach Dee Faircloth. "I was standing in the end zone and Delhi had this real tough-running son of a gun at running back. They were way ahead in the fourth quarter and he ended up breaking his ankle. We started out the year with injuries as George Cupit and Robbie Savant had leg injuries in the first game. Robbie limped though the entire season."
"We had Lanny Reese, who was all-State running back and middle guard," said then Delhi High coach Billy Calvert, who played football at Vidalia High in the 1950s. "He had 227 yards rushing through three quarters. We were up 38-0 late in the ballgame and I wanted to let him get one more run. Waterproof jumped on his back and someone hit his leg and he broke his ankle."
Faircloth was also without starting quarterback Kenny Ware. Sophomore Wes Foster stepped in as Viking signal-caller.
Cupit broke loose on 60-yard run in final quarter, taking the ball from his 16-yard line to the Bear 24. On fourth-and-eight, Joey Hutton's 38-yard field goal was just wide.
"We got into the power I and Coach Faircloth wanted us to wear them down," Cupit said. "I was running right up Mike Lemon's back every time. He was cussing me the whole game."
"We had them pinned back," said Calvert, a member of the Louisiana High School Athletic Assocation Hall of Fame. "I think I was the only person slower than Cupit. I couldn't believe we let him out of there. But I was running right alongside him."
"I remember watching the film after the game and Billy, in his white pants, was running stride for stride with George," Faircloth said. "That was one of the best karaoke dances I have ever seen. I called him and asked him why he was trying to trip my quarterback."
"We still laugh about that," Calvert said. "Coach Faircloth has always been one of my closest friends. But I hated coaching against him. You had to get your defense ready for 12-to-14 formations. He was the worst coach to scout against. With Haynesville, you had to get ready for the Wing T, against Rayville it was the I formation. Tallulah ran out of the I. With Dee, he went from I formation to I slot to power I to double wing. We would have to start getting ready for him the Friday night after our game before we played them. We would practice on Saturday and Sunday to get our guys ready for them."
Calvert, who is now a compliance officer for the LHSAA, would go on to coach at Jena, Liberty and Baker before serving as head football coach at Delhi from 1971-1984 after one year as an assistant at the school.
He took over as principal at Delhi after stepping down as head coach and served in that capacity until 1995.
He began working for the LHSAA in 2003.
Vidalia doubled Delhi in first downs, 6-3.
"Delhi had a real good football team," Cupit said. "Frank Maxwell went on to play (wide receiver) at Northeast Louisiana and they had four or five other guys go on to play college ball.
Delhi punted seven times and Vidalia punted five times.
Center/defensive lineman Gary Waller remembers one specific incident from that game.
'I got flagged for spearing the quarterback," Waller said. "He kept looking over his shoulder for me the rest of the game. But Coach Faircloth had me running belly-flops Monday."
Vidalia blanked Wisner 21-0 in its season-opener as Cupit scored twice.
Vidalia bounced back with a 29-0 win over Cathedral, holding Greenie standout running back Barr Brown to 64 yards.
After the win over Wisner, Vidalia lost to Ponchatoula 14-0.
Cupit and Savant were both still nursing injuries.
"It hurt my feelings losing to them, especially the fact I was on the sidelines and they kept yelling, 'We want 33,'" Cupit said. "I got in on special teams and tried to get some licks in there. But I was smart enough to realize this wasn't a district game and our objective was to win district and get to the playoffs."
The streak began the next week as Vidalia blanked Tallulah 14-0.
That was followed by an 8-0 win over Oak Grove.
The Vikings then blanked Block 17-0 to improve to 5-1.Vidalia's 15-0 win over Newellton clinched the district title for the Vikings.
Vidalia lost to St. Louis 13-12 in the Class 2A quarterfinals.
Pick A Game is a series of articles focusing on one sporting event from the past.
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