Gators make history|[11/12/05]

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 12, 2005

The sign said it all: &#8220Let’s Make History.”

The Vicksburg Gators certainly did. For the first time in the 25-year history of the Vicksburg-Warren Central series, the Gators beat the Vikings at Viking Stadium.

All of the Gators’ points in the 10-0 win came in the fourth quarter. By that time, Warren Central’s vaunted defense was worn down by the relentless push of the Gators’ offensive line.

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&#8220The offensive line won this game,” said a jubilant Tyler Wells, one of three Gator backs who enjoyed ample room to run either inside or outside.

&#8220It was the line’s best game of the season. I was finding amazing holes out there,” said Delmon Robinson, whose 6-yard TD run with 2:02 left sealed it for VHS.

The win clinches a playoff berth for Vicksburg (7-4, 4-3 Region 2-5A) which now heads to face top-ranked and two-time defending Class 5A champ South Panola next week in Batesville.

For Warren Central (7-4, 5-2), the loss cost it a chance to host a first round game next week. Instead, they must hit the road as the third seed Region 2-5A and face Olive Branch (10-1), the third-ranked team in Class 5A.

&#8220Vicksburg’s offense played a heckuva game. But we should’ve did more with the ball when we had it,” said WC quarterback Ryan Williams. &#8220Vicksburg has a good defense and they fought hard. We just didn’t get our offense together.”

The sheer number of plays pretty much summed up the game. Vicksburg ran 55 plays from scrimmage compared to WC’s 31. The Gators had 18 first downs to the Vikings’ 7. And they outgained Warren Central 338-189.

Yet for all the first downs and yards, the game was still scoreless when the Gators took the ball at their own 35 with four minutes to go in the third quarter.

Six yards here, seven yards there, the Gators kept the chains moving. By quarter’s end, they had reached the Viking 28 after nine plays.

They averted disaster when quarterback Stanton Price fell on a bad exchange. It was the closest the team, which has been turnover-prone all season, came to losing the ball.

Price came back to complete just the second of two passes in the game, a 9-yard gain to John Qualls, to convert a third down.

They faced another third at the 19, but this time Wells found room on a 14-yard wing counter to the five.

Yet much like they had done when the Gators were down here early in the second quarter, the Vikings rose up, stuffing three runs for a net gain of three yards.

Facing a fourth-and-goal at the two, VHS coach Alonzo Stevens opted for a field goal. John Howard’s 19-yard kick was true for a 3-0 lead with 7:42 left.

WC ran five plays, getting one first down, but a third down pass by Williams fell incomplete, forcing a punt.

Taking over at the 36, wingback Delmon Robinson brought the VHS crowd to its feet with an electrifying 62-yard run to the Viking 5-yard line.

&#8220I saw a lane to the inside and broke a tackle,” Robinson said. &#8220I don’t know who got me, because I was just so hyped.”

Again the WC defense stiffened and the Gators faced a tough choice with a fourth-and-goal at the six following a 5-yard motion penalty.

Robinson got the call and found a lane to the outside, scoring on a 6-yard run.

&#8220When I got it, I saw where I had a one-on-one situation. Vernon Wolfe picked up a nice block and I just ran it to the outside,” Robinson.

Howard’s kick made it 10-0.

The Vikings reached midfield on two Williams completions but could go no further, turning the ball over on downs.

&#8220We just believed,” said VHS lineman Mark Cabatay. &#8220We were stronger and we were more physical than them. All that conditioning work we did back in April and again in August, paid off in the fourth quarter.”

WC’s only scoring chance came on its opening possession when the Vikings drove 65 yards in 12 plays, reaching the Gator 15. A 26-yard pass by Williams to Tiger Robinson set up a 32-yard field goal by Joey Bonelli that went wide.

The Gators responded with an 18-play, 78-yard drive that reached the WC 2. Facing a fourth-and-goal, the Gators went for it but Trey Robinson and Trey Ettinger stuffed guard David Williams for a two-yard loss.

&#8220I didn’t think three points would win it, so we went for it,” Stevens said. &#8220Our defense is so good, I didn’t think they could drive 99 yards.

&#8220But in the fourth quarter, I thought three would be enough.”

He got 10 and his second win over the Vikings.

Robinson led the Gators with 123 yards rushing on 13 carries. Chavous McWhorter added 119 on 23 totes, while Wells had 62 on 10.

Carleton Davis led WC with 112 yards on 18 carries, of which 80 came in the first half. Williams was 6-of-11 for 60 yards.