VHS slams Mustangs, loses bid for playoffs

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 1, 2004

[10/30/04]JACKSON Coming into Friday night’s game, the Vicksburg Gators knew they had to win and hope for a miracle to reach the playoffs.

They accomplished one of their goals.

The Gators (5-5, 3-3 Region 2-5A) scored 33 second-half points and rolled up nearly 500 yards of total offense in decimating Murrah, 35-7.

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Vicksburg, though, was eliminated from playoff contention following Clinton’s 28-0 win over Greenville. The Gators will end the season next week in their annual rivalry game against Warren Central.

“We’ve been riding the defense all year and they had another outstanding game, and the offense came around,” said VHS coach Alonzo Stevens, whose team failed to reach the playoffs for the first time since 1999. “We’ll be all right.”

Vicksburg squandered two chances inside the Murrah 5-yard line in the first half and needed a botched Mustangs’ snap of a punt for a 2-0 lead at halftime.

But the Gators set the tone in the second half on Mario Gray’s 75-yard touchdown run to take an 8-0 lead. Gray led all rushers with 125 yards on five carries, while quarterback Eugene Morgan ran for 115 yards on 11 carries and Tyler Wells added 83 yards on 13 carries.

“We started running outside, but they were crashing so hard nothing was open,” said Wells, who added two touchdown runs. “We saw that the inside was open and went to it the entire second half.”

Wells’ 32-yard touchdown run with 3:59 left in the third quarter upped the Gators’ lead to 14-0.

Elliott Moore, who led Murrah with four catches for 122 yards, hauled in a 21-yard scoring pass from Erick Collins to cut the Gators’ lead in half at the end of the third quarter.

Two Morgan touchdown passes a 37-yarder to Shannon Tillman and an 11-yarder to Sean Gibbs coupled with a 6-yard Wells run broke open the close game. The last touchdown pass was thrown with 29 seconds to play in the game and the clock running.

Murrah, which had 23 yards of total offense in the first half, ended the game with 200, most coming through the air in the fourth quarter.