Looking back at season
by Joey Martin - posted Wednesday, November 21st, 2012 @ 10:09 am
So that was fast. It seems like I just sent out the questionnaires for the football section and we've already reached the end of football here in the Miss-Lou.
Despite the lack of success, there were still some memorable moments.
Here's a few that come to mind.
Best game of the year: Ferriday's 49-34 loss to Sterlington was entertaining and Vidalia's 10-7 win over Baker was exciting, but I have to go with Ferriday's 20-14 win over Vidalia.
The game was tied 14-14 at halftime.
Vidalia was playing without injured junior quarterback Michael Whitley, so Jonterris Townsend and Stewart Mallory lined up by each other in the backfield, both with hands extended for the snap.
Ferriday was without quarterback Shannon Morales and running back/linebacker Dontrell Domino.
Vidalia freshman Jontarrius Townsend, who finished with 165 yards on 29 carries, took the majority of snaps on a 73-yard drive that saw the Vikings move the ball to the Trojan 1-yard line, only to be stopped their on fourth down.
After Brooks was stopped for no gain, Vidalia's Torrey Smith, Charles Albert and Cole Cangemi tackled Brooks in his own end zone for a safety.
Vidalia then marched 55 yards, converting a fourth-and four at the Ferriday 17 as Mallory carried Trojans to the first down line. Mallory then scored on a 7-yard run to bring the Vikings to within 14:08 with 4:36 remaining in the second quarter.
Vidalia got the ball back and marched 39 yards on 13 plays as Dee Whitley scored from one yard out with 1:16 remaining in the first half to tie the game at 14-14.
The only score of the second half came with 4:36 remaining in the third quarter as Ferriday's Jaylen Neal broke loose on a 66-yard TD run.
It was a down year for Concordia Parish football. But on that Friday both teams played and looked like champions.
Best response during a game: The side official on Ferriday's sideline was one of the top officials I watched all year. He told Ferriday coach Cleothis Cummings during a crucial time in game that to be sure and let him know if he needed a time out and where he would be.
He explained every penalty and answered every question.
I told him during a break that I wish every official was as efficient as he was.
He answered, "I'm a pastor."
He went on to tell me that he works for Church of God in Louisiana in administration.
Wonder if he tells coaches that before the game. He wouldn't have a problem with Cummings, but would have been interesting to see him work the sideline with some former coaches.
Best freshman: Hands down it's Block running back Raymond Plummer. Plummer reminds me a lot of former Bear Dexter Butcher, the way he runs almost straight up and his fluidness when running the football.
Best Coaching Jobs: Unreal what Cathedral's Ron Rushing and Trinity's Josh Loy did this past season. Rushing lost two of his best players early to injury and was replacing a quarterback who lit up high school fields the past couple of years like a video game.
Wins over Stringer, Mount Olive and Dexter had a lot to do with coaching.
As for Loy, he stepped into loads of turmoil when he accepted the Trinity job just before the start of the season.
Parents were wondering what to do with their children as rumors abounded of Trinity shutting down.
Loy stepped in and took what was left and did an incredible job, bringing the team together, setting down solid rules, and getting the Saints to within one game of South State. And that was after having to start off the season against Jefferson County and Centreville.
To keep his players believing and playing to and above their potential was no small task. Not to mention a fan base used to winning.
The Saints went 8-5. That would have been quite an accomplishment for the most seasoned coach considering the distractions and obstacles.
For Loy to have his team playing as well as they could be in November as a rookie coach is beyond amazing.
Dust Yourself Off and Get Back Up Again Award: Vidalia High junior Stewart Mallory has played several different positions for Vidalia. With the injury to Michael Whitley, Mallory took a lot of the quarterbacking duties and performed admirably.
Despite taking quite a few hard licks during the season, Mallory always bounced back up, ready to run the next play.
The Viking junior finished with 132 rushing yards on 95 carries. That's including 130 negative yards from getting sacked and tackled behind the line.
Mallory was 16-of-43 with nine interceptions for 279 yards. Once again, under a lot of duress. He also caught five passes for 114 yards and also played on the defensive side.
Mallory has gone through a winless season and a one-win season. But you would never know it through how he plays the game on Friday night. No matter the score, Mallory still has the look of a football player looking like he's leading his team toward a potential winning touchdown. He truly left it on the field each Friday night.
Most intriguing night: OK, sorry Vikings, I had to go across the river the final game of the year and watch Natchez High take on Oak Grove instead of Vidalia hosting Buckeye.
Brett Favre is the offensive coordinator at Oak Grove. Brett Favre can still be an NFL quarterback. Hope none of the Oak Grove players makes the mistake of chest-bumping this guy. They would end up in Alabama.
Best part after a big play, Favre was trotting down the sideline with the same kind of gait he had after a touchdown pass to Donald Driver or Percy Harvin.
Favre gets into his role at offensive coordinator and has great repoire with the players and looks very natural as a coach.
He encourages, teaches and consoles, while also realizing he is an assistant coach, stepping back when he needs to do so.
Talking with the Warrior trainer, Kevin Mauldin, who Favre called when he hurt his ankle in New Orleans, said the future Hall of Famer is just another coach to the players.
"Actually, Brett can usually go eat out at a restaurant in Hattiesburg and nobody will bother him," Mauldin said. "He's very down home and everybody treats him as just another person."
Mauldin did say there was a truck driver from Wisconsin who parked his rig at the top of the hill where Oak Grove practices, came down to meet Favre, then went up and got in his truck and drove off.
He also said the players are not in awe of their offensive coordinator.
"As a matter of fact, Colt McCoy came down to work out once and all the kids wanted his autograph and picture with him," Mauldin said. "Brett thought that was really funny. Of course, he acted like, 'Hey, what about me?'"
By the way, Oak Grove has a sophomore quarterback named Cameron Myers who is going to be playing college football somewhere.
Myers has a good arm and is a breakaway runner who will cause defenses fits over the next two years. And if he has Favre guiding him, he will be ahead of the game.
Hoping For a Little Less Drama Next Year: Well, this year started out with David King moving from Trinity to ACCS, which started all kinds of rumors, transition and anxiety.
King, Trinity coach Josh Loy and Ron Rushing at Cathedral did great jobs this year dealing with some of that anxiety and chemistry-killer.
Then you throw in some key injuries and it's a wonder those teams fared as well as they did. Of course, I hear Rolaids and Tums sales went through the roof August through November.
Hopefully they stay on the shelves next year.
It's Way Too Early to Predict: I see Natchez, Cathedral and Trinity in the playoffs, while AC is two years away. Trinity moving down to Class A puts the Saints in good position to make a run. Loy and Kyle Ketchings did a masterful job of turning a bad situation into something positive.
Vidalia High will win four or five games. Vidalia will not face Block or Baker.
Block appears to be opening against Ouachita Christian next season. The Vikings are picking up Delhi (season-opener) and St. Frederick. An early win could give Vidalia a big boost for the rest of the season.
Ferriday lost Homer and Lakeside in its district and picked up Oak Grove and Winnfield.
Great for travel, not so great for the football team.
The Trojans can still finish with five wins, and against the schedule they play, that may be good enough for the playoffs.
Biggest disappointment: I was looking forward to seeing Wilkinson County quarterback Devin Voorhies, an LSU commitment, when the Wildcats visited Ferriday in September. I spent the first half in Ferriday and went to Vidalia versus Bolton for their second half.
But Ferriday shut Voorhies down the first half, even though he scored twice in the second half.
You can see the potential in Voorhies, but you can also see he lacks the kind of coaching you need at the next level. A redshirt year, for sure, and then hopefully he can contribute down the road.
That's a year off. But something tells me it will be here before you know it.