Gators start prep work for South Panola|[04/30/08]

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Vicksburg High defensive coordinator Sizemore leaving at end of school year

With a season opener with five-time state champion South Panola on its horizon, the Vicksburg High Gators began spring practice this week looking to build on a big returning senior class and wondering who will coach the defense.

Veteran VHS football coach Alonzo Stevens said the Gators have 25 experienced rising seniors coming back from last year’s 6-5 team. Vicksburg will open its season on Aug. 29 against South Panola, owners of the nation’s longest winning streak at 75 games, at Memorial Stadium for the Red Carpet Bowl.

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“We have the best football team in the state coming to our place and we have got to get ready,” Stevens said.

“The big thing for us is to build some depth. We really like our depth in the lines. We lost only one starter on our offensive line in Tim Jones and one defensive lineman. We have some good players back,” Stevens said.

The Gators will play Panola without defensive coordinator Stacy Sizemore.

Stevens confirmed that Sizemore will leave the staff at the end of the school year and return to Florida where he coached for a couple of seasons before coming back to his native Vicksburg.

StacySizemore”Coach Sizemore is having to leave because of some personal issues in his family and he’s probably not going to be back with us,” Stevens said.

“Stacy’s a guy who’s grown up around me and I’m going to miss that. But I understand the situation with his mother-in-law and he needs to go back to Florida,” Stevens said.

Stevens said he will likely promote assistant coach Tim Hughes to Sizemore’s position.

“Tim Hughes will be running the defense and will probably be our defensive coordinator. Of course, he’s helping Coach (Jamie) Creel out with the baseball team, but we’re basically going to run the same system coach Sizemore put in last year,” Stevens said.

Tuesday was the second day of 15 days of workouts for the Gators. Ten of the sessions will be in full pads and five will be in shorts. One change is that the Gators will play its spring game at the end of the second week on May 8 at Taylorsville. They will come back the following week and work four more days, concluding the spring with an intrasquad game on May 15 at Memorial Stadium.

“This will allow us to put everyone on film on two occasions,” Stevens said. “We also like that there will be seven teams at the jamboree at Taylorsville. West Jones, Morton, Lawrence County, South Jones, Magee, us and Taylorsville are the teams. We’ll be playing South Jones and Lawrence County.”

A total of 65 players showed up for spring work on Monday. Stevens said 10 returners are excused because of the baseball playoffs and the upcoming North State and State track meets.

One of the track performers is expected starting quarterback Les Lemons.

“We’ll be able to have Les for the last week,” VHS offensive coordinator Jackie Williamson said. “It’s still the same offense, but with Les, and our No. 2 in Taven Nickson, I think we’ll be able to do some more things because of their speed.”