Vicksburg still alive for region title

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 24, 2008

Hard times have befallen the Canton Tigers. Don’t expect much sympathy from the Vicksburg Gators.

It was this time last year when the upstart Tigers pulled off a surprising 18-13 win over Vicksburg at Memorial Stadium. The loss started a three-game slide for the Gators, who had entered the Region 3-4A contest at 6-2.

The Gators are once again 6-2 but this time, they have a firm hold on second place in the region at 4-1. Ridgeland’s stunning 14-13 loss last week to region doormat Yazoo County, left the Titans and Yazoo City tied for third at 3-2. Those two play tonight.

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Vicksburg, meanwhile, travels to Canton. When the season started, this appeared to be a tough challenge as Canton had moved into a 5,000-seat stadium built primarily from the revenues produced at the local Nissan plant. The Tigers opened the season with an impressive 28-21 win over 3A contender Tylertown behind four touchdowns from tailback Jacorey Ousley.

Then things went downhill. Canton has lost four out of five and last week, eight starters were dismissed from the team.

“We had to let some kids go because of disciplinary reasons,” CHS coach Davis said. “This past week, we played without any of (those eight starters).”

Vicksburg coach Alonzo Stevens said his Gators can’t go in feeling sorry for the Tigers.

“We’re in a good situation right now because we control home field,” Stevens said in reference to the Gators, who, if they beat Canton and Ridgeland, will be at home for the first round of the 4A playoffs. “Win our last two and we host. We can control where we play and we can’t afford not coming out and playing well against Canton.”

While the eight dismissed starters have left Canton a mystery, Stevens said his focus has been on his team.

“We haven’t played our best yet, but we’re playing better with each game. Last week against Lanier (a 49-0 win), we cut down on our mistakes on offense. On defense, we didn’t let Lanier breathe. We had three or four more good takeaways and Malcolm Butler continues to play well on both sides of the ball.”

Butler, a 200-pound senior, had an offensive touchdown for the second straight week. He had a 74-yard score off a reverse to key the Gators’ 36-6 win over Yazoo County.

Quarterback Les Lemons remains the focal point of the VHS offense. He has completed 50 of 99 passes for 596 yards and four TDs. He has run for an additional team high of 501 yards and four scores.

Running back Jeremy Hamlin chips in 355 yards rushing, while Trey Prentiss and Rodney Beacham are the top pass receivers.

Carlos Williams leads the Gators defense, which has held opponents to a touchdown or less in all six of the team’s win. Pearl, which leads the region, and South Panola are the only two teams to have scored more than a TD against Vicksburg.


Contact Jevv Byrd at