VHS Beats Raiders To Clinch 2-AA Crown
Nobody expected Vidalia’s Indians to show up and play lights out after the emotional roller coaster of last Friday’s crosscounty triple overtime shoot out against Toombs County. I was exhausted after just watching it, I can’t imagine what the players on both teams felt like.
The fact that the archrival Bulldogs helped the Indians clinch by handing Swainsboro their second loss in 2-AA is ironic. Of course, they were only clinching their own playoff seeding.
After Friday’s 20-14 victory over the Red Raiders of Bacon County, the Indians should have their own frustrations to work out on the Tigers, who have cost the Indians at least one Region Championship in the last couple of seasons.
Those Tigers will be visiting Buck Cravey Stadium on Friday night.
Bacon County, which finished 5-5, gave the Indians all they wanted. The Indians had to figure out how to tackle 6’3”. 235-pound QB Terriyon Moore.
The Red Raiders, only 1-4 in the Region, gave everyone in the Region except for Jeff Davis headaches this season. They were also playing for their own playoff aspirations.
Vidalia’s usually efficient offense misfired on the game’s first offensive play. A bobbled handoff between QB Bryce Davis and running back Jaedyn Stanley ended up in the hands of a Red Raider defender at the Vidalia 28.
Moore, an excellent athlete, who can spin away from defenders or run over them, started in place of Mason MIkeli, who injured his wrist last week, and suddenly went to work.
With 9:46 left in the first half, Moore crashed across the goal line from the Indian 4 to give his team an early 7-0 lead.
The Indians responded in kind in less that 3 minutes. This time Stanley and Davis made up for their mistake, attacking the middle of the Red Raider defense by picking up 5-10-yard chunks of yardage all the way down the field.
Davis got the score on a 4-yard keeper, and Tate McDaniel tied it up at 7-7 with 7:06 left in the first quarter.
The defenses took over then. Vidalia’s defense stopped a Bacon drive when Ira Clements intercepted a Moore pass at the Vidalia 10-yard line.
The Indian offense made its own share of mistakes, mostly penalties until the final minutes of the half.
That’s when Davis and his teammates went into hurry-up mode, driving the ball 85 yards in less than a minute and a half for the TD.
Most of the yardage came on short Davis passes and runs down the sideline to keep as much time on the clock as possible.
Head coach Jason Cameron went into his bag of tricks for the score. continued from page
Davis, on the verge of being sacked, lateraled to Hback Jermar Mack, who tossed a perfectly thrown ball to Jaedyn Stanley, who was wide open in the right side of the Red Raider end zone. MacDaniel’s extra point gave the Indians a hardearned 14-7 lead with just 19 seconds left in the half. Bacon County regained the momentum early in the third quarter, taking the second- half kick and using quick little running back Jimarion Guyton to pick up big yards on the drive. Guyton took a quick handoff over right tackle for the score while Indian defenders were keying on Moore. Vidalia responded again. Behind the running of Davis and Stanley, and an occasional pass, the Indians moved quickly to retake the lead. Davis got his second TD of the night when the Indian QB used his speed to take a slightly mishandled snap and beat all of Bacon County’s pursuit to the lefthand corner of the end zone.
The Red Raiders blocked McDaniel’s extra point to keep the score at a precarious 20-14 with the game in the final minutes of the third quarter. The Indian defense had to come up big in the fourth quarter. The Indians received a break when Moore’s best pass of the night was bobbled by a Bacon receiver right into the hands of Kaylan Johnson, who grabbed the ball at the Indian 3-yard line. Unable to move the ball, Bryce Davis nailed a 49yard punt that made Bacon start in their own territory.
Behind the running of Moore and Guyton, the Raiders overcame a holding penalty; but couldn’t overcome an intentional grounding play on a third down with 3 minutes left.
It still wasn’t over though. A hard hit on Davis ended an 8-yard gain with a fumble. A Raider fell on it at the Vidala 18.
The Indians grudgingly gave up 5 yards in two downs. Then an Indian blitz forced Moore to throw an incomplete pass short of its intended target in the end zone.
On fourth down, the Raiders split Moore out to the left side of the field, hoping to get the ball to him near the flag. Nakosi Batton’s throw sailed hopelessly over his head though, and the Indians had another hard-won victory and a Region Championship.
Vidalia, now 6-2, and 4-0 in the Region, will try to close out their season on a high note when Swainsboro visits Buck Cravey Field.
For the Indians, Davis again led the way, running for 173 yards and two scores on 21 attempts and completing 5-of-11 passes for 94 yards. Jaedyn Stanley had his usual productive game, running for 86 yards on 19 attempts and catching a TD pass. Jermar Mack also had a productive night, throwing the 5-yard TD pass to Stanley and catching two passes for 25 yards. Antrevion Williams had two catches for 48 yards, and Kaylin Johnson had a catch for 21 yards and an interception.
Defensively, Jaylin Burns continues what should be an All-State year, finishing with 13 tackles, 10 solos and 6 assists. Zach Howard had 7 tackles and Dawson Campbell had 6 tackles with 1 tackle for a loss.