Fumble-prone Vicksburg slammed by Clinton, 30-19

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 21, 2002

CLINTON Vicksburg High fumbled away its game against Clinton Friday night and in the process lost a share of the Region 2-5A lead.

The Gators (5-3, 3-1) fumbled four times and were intercepted once in a 30-19 loss to the Arrows (5-3, 2-2). Clinton scored three touchdowns and a field goal off the Gators’ turnovers and did not have a scoring drive of more than 48 yards all night.

“Field position was on our side tonight,” Clinton coach Pete Hurt said. “We did a good job pinning them down and after the first possession, our defense did a good job coming up with turnovers and we were able to cash in on some.”

Vicksburg quarterback Justin Henry completed 15 of 23 passes for 214 yards and a touchdown, but was intercepted once and fumbled twice after being blindsided both times.

“We set everything up for them,” Vicksburg coach Alonzo Stevens said. “They had one man rushing and (Henry) didn’t have time to throw. Everything was open, we just didn’t have time.”

Henry led the Gators’ first scoring march a 79-yard drive for a quick 7-0 lead. He passed for 61 yards on the opening possession, which was capped by Phelan Gray’s 1-yard touchdown plunge.

During that first drive, the Arrows gave Henry plenty of time to throw and he picked apart the defense. But on the subsequent possessions, Hurt moved to a blitzing defense and defensive end Robert Bolton had a field day.

The junior forced two Henry fumbles and sacked the VHS quarterback three times.

“I had to do what I had to do to make the big plays,” Bolton said. “That first drive, he had way too much time to throw the ball and we needed to get pressure on him.”

Clinton tied the game late in the first quarter on a 1-yard run by quarterback Mike Cashion and added another score off a Vicksburg turnover midway through the second quarter to make it 13-7 at the half.

The Gators forced a fumble on the opening kickoff and Gray scored on the second play an 8-yard dive but the extra point missed and the game stayed tied at 13.

After Vicksburg forced a Clinton punt soon after Gray’s score, the senior fullback fumbled on Vicksburg’s second play to give the ball right back.

Three plays later, Cashion connected with Casey Buford on a 27-yard touchdown pass as the Arrows took a 20-13 lead, one they would not relinquish. Cashion completed two passes on the night, the other for five yards.

“It’s been like this the last couple weeks and I just can’t put my hat on it,” Stevens said.

Sam Cole’s 20-yard field goal a minute into the fourth quarter and a Paul Cavett 46-yard TD run gave Clinton a 30-13 lead midway through the fourth quarter. Cavett paced Clinton with 153 yards on 23 carries,

Henry connected with Maurice Taylor, who led all receivers with 83 yards on four catches, on an 18-yard scoring pass with 4:36 left in the game to cut Clinton’s lead to 30-19.

James Jackson recovered a fumble with seconds to play and Henry hooked up again with Taylor, but the speedy receiver was stopped deep in Clinton territory as time ran out.

“Coach always says that the team with the most turnovers is going to lose,” Vicksburg linebacker Rory Johnson said. “That’s what happened.”

The Gators will be on the road again Friday night at Callaway, a team tied for Vicksburg for second in the region.