Mistakes handcuff Vikings|[09/08/07]

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 8, 2007

First it was the penalties. Then came the turnovers, four of them in fact, all in the second half.

It added up to a miserable night for the Warren Central offense and a glorious night for the Vicksburg High defense under new coordinator Stacy Sizemore.

“There’s not much to say,” Vikings coach Curtis Brewer said, while motioning his upset team into the locker room after dropping a 7-0 decision to the crosstown Gators Friday night before a packed Viking Stadium crowd.

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“Intercepted pass. That was it,” Brewer said in summarizing the Vikings’ downfall.

The game’s only score came on an interception return when Vicksburg’s Les Lemons stepped in front of a Keaton Sanders pass and returned it 75 yards for the touchdown with 8 minutes, 59 seconds left in the game.

“Les was in the right place,” Gator linebacker Carlos Williams said.

“I just read the quarterback. They ran the wheel route and I jumped it,” Lemons said.

The fact the Gators (1-1) were able to take away the Vikings most successful pass play from last week’s game against No. 1 ranked South Panola, proved to be the key to the game.

“We worked all week on stopping the slant route and the wheel route they try to run off it,” an elated Sizemore said. “It was their favorite route. I can’t say enough about the play of our defense. But our offense played well, too. This was a great team win for us.”

For the Vikings (0-2), the problems started in the first half. Three holding penalties stopped WC possessions, leading to three-and-outs followed by a punt. The one sustained Viking drive picked up four first downs to reach the Gators 36. Then on a third-and-one, a Viking moved. The motion penalty cost WC five yards and turned a possession play into a tougher third-and-six. Sanders’ pass fell incomplete and WC again punted.

In all, the Vikings were called four times for holding, twice for late hits, once for an offsides and two motion flags — nine penalties for 85 yards.

The second half got off to an even worse start. On the first play from scrimmage, a good 6-yard gain turned into a lost Viking fumble.

After the Gators failed to capitalize, the Vikings handed the ball right back after a first down when Sanders was intercepted by Eddie Sanders who stepped in front of a quick slant. The second turnover allowed the Gators to spend the entire third quarter in WC territory.

Lemons’ interception return put the Gators ahead 7-0.

“I was looking for the sideline and then when I saw an opening, I just sped up. Harold Pickett gave me a good block and I cut inside of him and I took it home,” Lemons said.

On the next Viking play following the runback there was another lost fumble.

“Maybe the ball just got wet. We just had too many turnovers,” WC offensive tackle David Henderson said of the two lost fumbles and the two interceptions.