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Gators unveil new helmets

[7/12/03]Starting this season, the Vicksburg Gators will display new football helmets.

The helmets, based on the Louisiana State University design, will feature the “VHS” insignia with a gator head below the letters.

Vicksburg’s helmets haven’t changed since soon after the team began in 1973, when North Vicksburg (formerly Rosa A. Temple) and South Vicksburg (formerly H.V. Cooper) joined to form one school.

The first Gator helmets were carried over from the South Vicksburg Greenies. Since so many silver and white helmets were made with the letter “G” on the side, the new Vicksburg mascot was chosen to be the Gators to use the same helmets.

In 1978, Vicksburg High changed to green helmets featuring “Gators” written on the side, and they remained that way through last season.

Coach Alonzo Stevens hopes the new helmets will inspire his players.

“We’re saying take it to the next level,” Stevens said. “We’re trying to change some things and get the kids excited about this year.”

With 29 seniors and ample talent, the 2003 Vicksburg Gators have a chance to reach their ultimate goals of a state championship.

New helmets are just one way Stevens hopes to inspire his players to give 110 percent everyday.

Vicksburg finished last season 8-4, after opening with a loss to Wayne County in the Red Carpet Bowl.

Stevens posted a sign in the fieldhouse showing the scores of the losses the Gators suffered when preseason hopes and state championship talk got the best of them.

Depicted above the losses in bold letters is written, “Remember the Feeling.”

“Right now we have guys who are too busy being friends and they’re afraid of someone getting mad at them if they say Why were you late for practice?'” Stevens said.

With the emergence of leadership, Vicksburg could be the team to beat next season, and Stevens hopes the 30th anniversary of the beginning of the Gators could end with a state championship.