Nightmare’ nearly over for Gators

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 6, 2002

[09/06/02]Alonzo Stevens wants to make sure his Vicksburg Gators got the message last Friday night.

He’s been filtering in Billy Ocean’s “When the Going Gets Tough” over and over and over and over.

He’s hoping the message sinks in quickly.

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“The nightmare on Drummond Street is over,” said Stevens, referring to his team’s opening day 28-13 loss to Wayne County in the Red Carpet Bowl. “That was the poorest execution I saw of us as a whole. … I’ll tell you this, we will never play that way again.”

And if they do?

“You can find me up on Grove Street at the jail,” Stevens said with a chuckle.

The Gators lost the opener, then lost the state’s top ranking, tumbling to No. 7. But Stevens is quick to change the focus from falling rankings and bad play to Brookhaven, a team that came from behind to beat Hazlehurst, 24-15.

The last thing first-year Brookhaven coach Tucker Peavey wanted to see was the Gators lose.

“I’m sure they’ll be a little angry,” said Peavey, who came to Brookhaven after a coaching stint at Pearl River Community College. “They are a very talented team with good size and speed.”

Asked what it would take to shock the No. 7 Gators, Peavey said, “It will take a huge effort. We have to have our players play over and above our capabilities …”

Vicksburg will get fullback Phelan Gray back after the senior slightly pulled his hamstring in the first half last Friday. He sat out the second half, but Stevens said he will be 100 percent for tonight.

The Panthers, a young team that didn’t get to participate in spring drills because they didn’t have a coach, will be outsized on the line and in numbers. Last season, Vicksburg beat Brookhaven, 39-0.

“They didn’t look like they struggled against Hazlehurst. They have a fine-looking team,” said Stevens, who stayed at the fieldhouse until 5 a.m. Saturday morning fuming at the Wayne County loss. “We have to come out and play like we know we can. Last week is behind us, that one’s on me. Now we have to come out and play.”