For VHS, no shades of Gray for rest of year

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 5, 2000

If Vicksburg High makes it to the playoffs this year, it will have earned the trip.

To make it, the Gators have to win the ones they’re supposed to and one they’re not and they’ll have to do it without their leading rusher.

Murrah, Friday night’s opponent, is one of the teams VHS is supposed to beat. But then again, so was Greenville, which upset the J.J. Brown-less Gators, 21-17, Sept. 22. That loss set VHS back in the Region 2-5A race.

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And now, down 0-2 in the region, the Gators (4-2, 0-2 in 2-5A) are without Phelon Gray, who went down with a knee injury last week. Tuesday, he had surgery for a torn ACL and is out for the season.

The good news is, Brown is back.

“Our backs are against the wall,” said VHS coach James Knox, who has led the Gators to the postseason in 10 of his 12 seasons. “We’ve got a chance … but we don’t have another easy ballgame.”

Especially without Gray, who was shaping up to be a “game-controller,” Knox said.

“It really hurts us,” he said. Gray was the fourth-leading rusher in the county, with 76 carries for 406 yards.

Knox isn’t giving up, though. He said Reginald Wheatley and Adam Hodnett will rotate in Gray’s position.

“We’ve still got a chance to make the playoffs,” he said.

The Mustangs (3-3, 0-2), who are also looking for their first region win, scored 42 points in an overtime loss to Gentry.

They’ve abandoned the Notre Dame box they used last year in favor of the more conventional I-formation, which is comforting to Knox.

“If they pass, you’ve got them out of what they want to do,” Knox said. “Our defense is ready for the ground game.”

For the Gators to make the playoffs, they’ll have to beat Murrah, Callaway (Oct. 20) and Gentry (Oct. 27) and upset either No. 2 Clinton (Oct. 13) or No. 9 Warren Central (Nov. 3).