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Two Gators dismissed; one walks away from WC

[08/23/01] A pair of county running backs who were expected to battle for playing time will not be in uniform this year.

Vicksburg High’s Reginald Wheatley, who was expected to play one of the wing positions in the Gators’ offense, and teammate Darrell Williams were dismissed for disciplinary reasons.

At Warren Central, senior Omar Jackson, a strapping 6-foot-4, 225-pound running back, quit the team after working out this summer.

Jackson, who was expected to battle for the running back position this year, gained 280 yards a season ago and was listed as a “Senior to Watch” in The Clarion-Ledger last week.

Warren Central coach Robert Morgan would not comment on Jackson.

“We have rules and we made it perfectly clear that we have to follow rules,” said VHS coach Alonzo Stevens, who had all his players sign a list of rules and code of conduct before the season started.

“Reggie was a tremendous athlete and anything we can do to help him, we will. At this time, though, he is not a part of the Gator football team.”

Wheatley was fourth in rushing for Vicksburg a season ago. He had 315 yards on 53 carries and four touchdowns. He also caught six passes for 24 yards.

Wheatley and Williams were involved in an incident on Friday and the two were dismissed Friday night. Neither will get a chance to play this season.

Wheatley, a 5-6, 150-pound senior, was kicked off the Gators a season ago for violating team rules, but let back on the team soon after.

Michael Rainey, a sophomore, is the top candidate to replace Wheatley as the Gators’ backup tailback. Several others are also in the running for the spot when the Gators open against John Ehret on Aug. 31 in the Red Carpet Bowl Classic.

Williams, a 5-5, 160-pound junior, had just eight carries for 35 yards and no touchdowns.

“They have to learn that they have to follow the rules and if they don’t, they have to be ready to accept the consequences,” Stevens said. “… As a family, which we are, it hurts. But we have goals and aspirations and we’re not going to deter from those.”