Vicksburg making haul to Southaven|[9/23/05]

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 23, 2005

Alonzo Stevens watched the Vicksburg High film of the Hazlehurst game, then burned it.

The Gators’ coach said mental breakdowns, lack of execution and a very talented Hazlehurst team led to a 30-14 thumping last Friday night.

“First we used it as a coaching tool, then we burned it,” Stevens said. “Take nothing away from Hazlehurst because they played a very good game, but we did a lot of things wrong.”

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His team will have plenty of time to ponder tonight’s opponent as the Gators trek north to Southaven – a conservative four-hour bus ride.

Vicksburg added the north Mississippi school after South Pike and Brookhaven did not renew their contracts. Stevens said finding a Class 5A opponent close to home was nearly impossible.

“There aren’t that many 5As around here that are not in our district,” Stevens said. “It came down to either going to the Coast or going north.”

Warren County teams and Southaven are no strangers. The Chargers (1-2), who are coming off a 21-15 loss to Millington, Tenn., played for two years in the Red Carpet Bowl and also played at Warren Central in a playoff game.

The Chargers are a dangerous team, Stevens said.

“They’ll be a good football team; well disciplined,” Stevens said. “We certainly are going to have to play to have a chance. We need to execute.”

Running back Chris Johnson leads the Chargers’ offense with 300 yards and five touchdowns. Southaven will grind the ball out on the ground, occasionally mixing in a pass or two.

The Gators spent time this week shoring up fundamentals and working with the offensive line. Hazlehurst routinely burst through the Gators’ line, disrupting both passing and running plays.

The Gators’ complex offense takes time to develop in the backfield and Hazlehurst took advantage of the O-line by blitzing constantly.

Vicksburg accounted for 70 yards rushing and 98 yards passing in the loss to Hazlehurst. Vernon Wolfe led all receivers with three catches for 52 yards and a touchdown.

This is the Gators last game before beginning region play against Provine. The Rams are 1-1 on the season.