Gators seeing pink this week

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 21, 2001

[9/21/01]The Vicksburg Gators have been used to seeing end-zone green this season.

Leading up to tonight’s game with South Pike, the eighth-ranked Gators (3-0) are seeing pink.

A rampaging case of pink eye has hampered most of the Gators’ offensive linemen this week and coaches have been scrambling to get them better.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

On Wednesday, head coach Alonzo Stevens said parents and local doctors have the players ready.

“They tell us it’s past the contagious stage,” Stevens said. “We don’t expect any players to miss because of it.”

Pink eye, or conjunctivitis, is an infection of the inside of the eyelid that makes the eye appear pink and is very irritable. Coaches and trainers said the infection was probably transmitted during the Natchez game.

Players hold hands in the huddle and it is believed that, combined with sweating, spread the infection.

Defensive back Justin Randle will most likely miss the game after sustaining a cut on his hand that required 14 stitches. Maurice Taylor is day-to-day after cutting his ankle and D’Eldrick Taylor is expected to play after suffering a minor injury at home, Stevens said.

South Pike coach Greg Wall, whose team upset Warren Central one week ago, said he’ll take anything to help slow down the Gators and their massive offensive line.

“Maybe it will rain a lot and they’ll get bogged down,” said Wall, whose defensive line averages less than 200 pounds per man, while the Gators’ offensive line averages more than 300. “From what we’ve seen, they have a great team and our defense has its work cut out.”

The Eagles (2-1) have a small, yet lightning quick team. Running backs Quentrelle Green and Jessie Burton should get most of the carries. Quarterback Jonathan Brumfield, who scored the lone touchdown against WC, runs from his position.

The Eagles rarely pass. They did not throw one in the second half against the Vikings.

For the Gators, a change in the kicking game for the second week in a row is possible.

Paul “Moose” Gorney, a 280-pound center, kicked three extra points and handled all the kickoffs against Natchez. Starting kicker Victor Parker is nursing a sore leg muscle and coaches said it will be a game-time decision as to who kicks.

Gorney, a former soccer player who kicked in junior high and ninth grade, said he is ready if called upon.

“I have trouble seeing the ball,” Gorney said with a chuckle. “I wear this big, bull facemask and I only have a little room to see.”

Gorney said he has trouble placing kickoffs short.

The Gators routinely kick the ball high and short to avoid giving up a big return.

Besides that, though, Gorney said he just does what comes naturally.

“I’m not nervous at all when I get out there,” Gorney said. “I look at it as I’m having fun. How many more chances will I have to kick an extra point or a field goal? They should have confidence in me.”

Coaches are expecting an overflow crowd as the Gators will be playing their first home game of the season. During Meet the Gators night, the entire home side was filled.

Local attendance at the first two away games has also increased, Stevens said.

“We’re finally back in the Swamp,” Stevens said. “… (T)he kids are really looking forward to playing in front of the home fans.

“It’s ecstatic. If it’s any indication of the way people followed us on the road, it’s going to be nice.”

Stevens: Players,coaches only on sideline

Stevens said access to the sidelines for tonight’s home-opener will be restricted to players and coaches.

Anyone on the sidelines must have permission from school officials and the appropriate credentials, Stevens said.

People on the sidelines who are not supposed to be there will be escorted to the bleachers, the coach said.

Game time for the Gators-Eagles game is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Memorial Stadium.