Vicksburg looking for win streak

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 15, 2004

[10/15/04] Vicksburg High quarterback Eugene Morgan is gaining confidence and has shown steady improvement in the Gators’ new “Matrix” offense.

The open-style scheme spreads the field with either four or five receivers and allows Morgan to sit back in the shotgun with more time to make decisions. He also is given the freedom to take off running if he feels pressure from the defense.

“I’m more comfortable in that because I feel like it gives me more time,” Morgan said of the offense. “I can see the field way better and make good adjustments.”

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The offense was implemented two weeks ago at Clinton and the Gators have responded by putting up solid numbers for two games. Despite the Gators’ struggles to find the end zone against Clinton, Morgan passed for 203 yards and ran for another 100 as Vicksburg totaled 333 yards of offense.

Last week against Forest Hill, Morgan threw for only 79 yards and rushed for 44, but he allowed his teammates to make plays. The Gators racked up 287 yards on the ground and 366 total yards.

“He’s progressing to the point where we want him to be,” VHS coach Alonzo Stevens said of Morgan. “He’s a playmaker, he understands the system and he’s running the system.”

Vicksburg picked up a much-needed win last week and hopes to start a win streak at Greenville tonight at 7:30.

The Gators (3-4, 1-2 Region 2-5A) overcame their slow start to the season to claim their first region win with a 20-7 victory against Forest Hill (2-5, 0-2). They now sit in a tie with Murrah for fifth place in the region with four games left on the schedule. The top four teams reach the postseason.

The road doesn’t get any easier after this week Vicksburg still has to face frontrunners Madison Central and Warren Central so the Gators know they need another good game against winless Greenville (0-7, 0-3).

“We’ve got four more, that’s the war cry,” Stevens said. “One at a time, but we’re trying to end this thing with a bang.”

Despite the improvements the offense has shown, Vicksburg still has some kinks to work out.

Against Clinton, the Gators reached the red zone five times and came away with one score. They turned it over on downs twice and had two field goals blocked. They had another field goal blocked and fumbled three times against Forest Hill.

“We feel confident in our ability, but at the same time we’ve still got to cut down on our mistakes,” Stevens said. “They’re not forced mistakes. Generally, if somebody puts so much pressure on you, you make mistakes. But we make little bone-headed mistakes.”

Stevens said he’s hoping Vicksburg can put it all together tonight.

“We still haven’t played that perfect ball game,” he said. “We want to get it where the defense, offense and special teams come to play and play for 48 minutes. I think it would be a beautiful thing to see.”

The Hornets’ record isn’t pretty, but they have faced some tough foes, including South Panola, Clarksdale, Grenada and Warren Central.

Greenville’s offense has shown improvement in recent weeks as well. The Hornets scored four touchdowns in last week’s 39-28 loss to Grenada a team that held Vicksburg to a field goal.

“Last week we went to Grenada and they apparently decided they wanted to play,” Greenville coach Willie Young said. “That’s exactly what they did, they stepped it up. We scored first and that’s the first time this year that we’ve scored first.”

Vicksburg is concerned about containing quarterback Lonnie Buchanan and not playing down to its opponent’s level.

“They look like they’ve got a pretty good team on film,” Morgan said. “They’ve got speed. They may not have a good record, but they’ve hung in a lot of close games.”

Vicksburg’s biggest task may be not to overlook Greenville in favor of next week’s homecoming game against Madison Central.

“We’ve got to bring our A’ game because they’ve got nothing to lose,” Stevens said. “They’re playing out a season, and we’re trying to play for a season. We’re just not strong enough to look over anybody.”