Superstitious Gators won’t have pep rally

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 28, 2001

[11/28/01]To rally or not to rally? That is the question.

Superstitious Vicksburg High players are saying keep the celebrating to the fans and leave the pep rally at the door.

The players obviously have some pull as the seniors voted unanimously to ditch the rally.

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“I don’t want one,” senior linebacker Tim Brown said. “Those things get everyone’s minds into the hype instead of focusing on the game. Without a pep rally, I think we stay more focused.”

In the last two playoff games, the Gators had no pep rally. The last one they had was before their 27-14 loss to archrival Warren Central.

Against Columbus, the team left early in the morning and was unavailable for the weekly rally. Against Madison Central, school was out because of Thanksgiving.

“The seniors voted not to have one and we like for them to have an input,” Vicksburg coach Alonzo Stevens said.

Some coaches in other sports suggested that because the Gators won last week when school was not in session, they should be excused from class this Friday. That notion was quickly dismissed unlike classes.

Rain forces Gators

to practice indoors

Vicksburg’s practice was forced indoors because of heavy rain.

VHS went through drills at the National Guard armory near City Pool on Tuesday and expected to be there today.

“We can do everything there but hit,” Stevens said. “We’d rather be outside.”

A steady downpour throughout Tuesday and an expected dousing today is making the field at Memorial Stadium a quagmire.

Asked if Starkville, which is also being hammered with rain, is having the same problems, Stevens said, half jokingly, that they always had Mississippi State to go to.

“I need to call Jackie (Sherrill) and tell them they need to concentrate on BYU and forget about Starkville,” Stevens said with a laugh.

The Swamp a hard place for opponents to win

Vicksburg has won its last five games at “The Swamp.”

The Gators’ home has been a hard place for opponents to play since Class 4A power South Pike, which will meet D’Iberville in the South State Championship, beat Vicksburg, 32-26, on Sept. 21.

“I want our fans to come out like they did last week and cheer these guys on,” Vicksburg coach Alonzo Stevens said. “We’ll try to put a quality product on the field.”

The Yellowjackets (12-1) and undefeated against Mississippi teams, won the Region 1-5A crown by going through undefeated.

Because the Yellowjackets have hosted two games to the Gators’ one, the game is at Memorial Stadium.

“It is clearly outlined and we knew what we were getting,” first-year Starkville coach Bill Lee said.

“We don’t feel slighted in any way because every high school has equal home games. I think it is fair.”

The Yellowjackets can be happy they are playing in Mississippi, where they went through the season 12-0. The lone loss was at Pine Forest, Fla., near Pensacola.

Football playoff force

change in hoops schedule

Three of the four schools playing in this weekend’s Warren Central Basketball Classic still have football teams alive in the playoffs, forcing a schedule change.

Vicksburg, Cleveland and South Pike will all play on Friday, meaning the championship games originally scheduled for Friday were moved to Saturday.

Opening round games are Thursday.

Vicksburg’s boys and girls will play South Pike, while Warren Central will play Cleveland.

Experience vs. youth

Vicksburg enters the game as the new kids on the block, while Starkville has a long and successful playoff history.

Since 1984, the Yellowjackets are 24-12 in the playoffs, have advanced to the second round six times, the North State Championship three times and have won three state championships.

Conversely, the Gators are 5-12 since 1984, have advanced to two North State title games and went to the second round in 1993.

“It may be a factor because they may look at us like the underdogs,” Brown said. “They’ll probably come down here knowing they have a win. That will help us out. Hit em in the face and shock em and they won’t know what to do.”

Starkville sports 33 seniors on its roster, while the Gators have 15.

Ex-warren Central player now coaching in Starkville

Billy Cook played high school ball at Warren Central before going to Mississippi State. Now the ex-Viking is a member of the Starkville coaching staff.

Cook will be making his return to Vicksburg on Friday night.

Vicksburg High clothes

hot seller since WC game

Green and white flags adorn more cars in Warren County and Gators’ clothes are flying off the shelves at local retailers.

John Duett, owner of The Sport Center and former basketball coach at Warren Central, said more and more people have been buying Vicksburg clothes after the Gators started their playoff run.

“It’s been going strong from the Vicksburg-Warren Central week on,” Duett said. “There’s excitement in the air and it’s showing on the retail side.”

Fleece pullovers and caps are the hottest sellers, Duett said.