Jackson lights up Panthers in 3 OT win

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 9, 2003

[9/7/03]James Jackson’s statistics from the Vicksburg Gators’ 55-47 triple-overtime win over Brookhaven on Friday night are staggering.

He completed 19 passes for 406 yards, threw four touchdown passes and ran in the game-winning score as VHS improved to 1-1.

“He stepped it up,” Vicksburg coach Alonzo Stevens said of his senior signal-caller, who is also the Gators’ best pitcher in baseball.

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Jackson, along with a host of speedy wide receivers torched the Panthers for more than 500 yards of total offense, but the team needed three extra frames to hold off the Panthers.

“I’m so happy, I don’t know what to say,” Jackson said after the victory.

Maurice Taylor and Ben Shelton each had more than 100 yards receiving and accounted for the bulk of the Gators’ offense..

“We had some silly penalties and we are not where we need to be mentally,” Stevens said Saturday morning. “I was proud of the way we didn’t quit, though.”

Trailing 19-8 with seconds to play in the first half, the Gators connected on a hook-and-lateral play. Jackson threw to Shelton, who flipped the ball to Taylor. As Taylor caught the pitch, the halftime horn sounded as he raced down the sideline for an 80-yard touchdown.

The Gators had tried the same exact play one play earlier, but the pass was dropped.

“We believed in what we were doing,” Stevens said. “We wanted the ball in Maurice’s hand and lo-and-behold, he had an 80-yard touchdown.”

Brookhaven, which had fantastic field position all night due to a suspect Gators’ special teams, increased the lead to 27-15 before VHS made its comeback.

Trailing 33-27 late in the fourth quarter and with Brookhaven driving, William Erves intercepted Brookhaven quarterback Jimmy Johns in the end zone.

Several plays later, Taylor caught a 45-yard touchdown pass from Jackson to tie the game. Freshman kicker Cameron Curtis, who was playing his first varsity game, had missed two extra points earlier and the Gators failed to convert the 2-point conversion sending the game into overtime.

The Gators played offense first on all three overtime possessions.

Jackson connected with Taylor on the first overtime TD, then A.J. Hicks ran in from 1-yard out in the second overtime. Jackson’s quarterback keeper in the third overtime, and a 2-point conversion provided the final margin.

“This is just like the Horn Lake game last year, except the Gators came out on top,” said Stevens, whose team lost in last season’s Class 5A playoffs to Horn Lake 55-54 in overtime.

The Gators are scheduled to play winless Natchez on Friday night. The Bulldogs have won one time in the last three seasons and went winless last season.