Gators’ defense dismantles Madison

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 30, 2003

(10/25/03)MADISON Vicksburg High outdid itself Friday night at Madison Central.

The Gators (6-3, 5-0 Region 2-5A), who held Greenville to 62 yards of total offense one week ago, kept Madison Central at 49 yards of offense in an 18-7 win.

“We wanted the shutout,” said Vicksburg wide receiver/defensive back Ben Shelton, who had an interception on a long pass as Madison tried to make a comeback late in the fourth quarter. “This is the first time I can ever remember coming to Madison and winning.”

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With the victory, coupled with a Warren Central loss to Clinton, the Gators sit atop the region as the only unbeaten team. Vicksburg will entertain Murrah on Friday, then end the regular season against WC on Nov. 7.

“We can’t underestimate anybody,” said VHS running back Michael Rainey, who had a pair of sacks from his linebacker position. “Murrah has a good team and they look good on tape. We have to stay focused. Some guys might want to lose their heads, but we’ll keep them in check.”

Behind Rainey and the Gators’ defense, keeping people in check is seemingly easy.

The Jaguars, despite having good field position the entire game, scored one time on a 1-yard touchdown run by quarterback Nathan Wright with 8 minutes to play in the game and Vicksburg holding an 18-7 lead. The score followed one of four Gators’ turnovers.

The fourth turnover on the next VHS possession set up the Jaguars on the the Gators’ 48-yard line.

Madison drove the ball to the VHS 28, but Shelton picked off Wright in the end zone with about 4 minutes to play on a long pass to seal the victory.

“We battled back and had an opportunity after that fumble,” Madison Central coach Ted Taylor said. “We had the backside post, but we didn’t get a good throw and they intercepted it.”

Marcus Harris picked off Madison starting quarterback Tim Buckley twice, while A.J. Hicks and Casey Younger each had a sack.

“We’re trying to keep this defense going,” Vicksburg coach Alonzo Stevens said. “If you want to win a championship, it has to start with the defense, and right now, we are playing well.”

Maurice Taylor, who led all rushers with 102 yards on eight carries, gave the visiting Gators an 8-0 lead with a 1-yard touchdown with 2:37 left in the first half. Taylor then hauled in the 2-point conversion on a pass from Shelton.

VHS took the opening kickoff of the second half and drove 67 yards in five plays. The drive was capped by a Hicks’ 1-yard run.

VHS increased the lead to 18-0 six minutes later on Sean McGowan’s 35-yard field goal. The score remained 18-0 until MC’s late TD.

“We’ve been as low as we can go,” Stevens said. “A lot of people gave up on us and turned their backs on us. The kids believe in the coaches and we believe in the kids. That’s what champions are made of.”