Young Gators bring tons of fun’ to offensive front

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 2, 2000

Paul Gorney, from right, Charles Wilson, Junior Nix, Trey Henson, Andre Bennett, Delvechio Ellis and Walter Warfield will see time on VHS’ offensive line. (The Vicksburg Post/ROB MAXWELL)

The group that calls themselves “tons of fun” will be in no mood for laughing Friday night.

Vicksburg High’s mammoth, but young, offensive line tips the scales at a combined weight of 1,767 pounds and has been dishing out punishment on opposing defensive lines all year.

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When going down the roster, the numbers jump off the page: Andre Bennett, 350 pounds; Junior Nix (347), Charles Wilson (290), Delvechio Ellis (292) and Paul Gorney (265). The smallest, and most experienced, is senior Trey Henson, who brings down the average considerably at a svelte 220 pounds.

All of them will have to bring their finest game to the table for a chance to beat the Vikings.

Thad Henderson and Corey Nettle, both WC senior defensive tackles, attack with a smorgasbord of pressure on opponents’ offenses.

“We have to blow them off the line,” said Charles Wilson, one of five underclassmen who will see action. “That’s all there is to it.”

The unit, which looked shaky in preseason drills but has improved steadily ever since, is finally coming into its own, players and coaches agree.

“It’s been a battle,” Henson said.

Henson said that Warren Central is different than many teams because linebacker Tyler DeRossette, a hard-hitting sophomore, plays close to the line of scrimmage.

That fact alone puts more pressure on the line.

“If we stick to what we’re supposed to do, I think it’ll be a good thing,” Henson said.

The Gators are 7-3 through the meat of the schedule, but a final regular-season win over Warren Central would be icing on the cake. A win sends the Gators automatically to dessert, a trip to the state playoffs.

Offensive coordinator Alonzo Stevens said that his young group of linemen will make many major colleges’ recruiting menu. From the first day, he could tell his men had potential.

“They are a total unit,” Stevens said.

“Next year, you’re probably talking about four (Division) I-A players. They’ve grown leaps and bounds from the first game to the last one.”

Still, Stevens said, it will be a challenge against the Vikings.

“They are very aggressive linemen and they hang to their assignments,” Stevens said of WC. “There’s no doubt, in my mind, that (Nettle and Henderson) are the focal point of their defense.

“I don’t think you can stop them, you just have to try to slow them down.”

Rarely will the Gators attack Nettle and Henderson in the middle. Instead, they will shoot for an outside running attack to counter WC’s power with speed.

“We plan to do what’s good for us and that’s speed,” Stevens said. “We’ll have to play our speed game and make them shut us down. This game will really come down to who executes.”