Vicksburg on a roll as Class 4A playoffs begin|Gators set for Pontotoc on Friday at 7 at Memorial Stadium

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 3, 2008

Vicksburg added some new wrinkles to its offense in its 42-0 romp over Ridgeland in the final regular season game at Memorial Stadium Friday night.

Normally a spread formation team, the Gators unveiled a tighter run formation in order to get tailback Jeremy Hamlin some room. Hamlin used the tighter set to rush for 71 yards and a touchdown. Quarterback Les Lemons had another great game operating from both sets to finish with 145 yards rushing and two scores along with another 60 yards passing.

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Tickets for Vicksburg High’s first-round playoff game with Pontotoc will go on sale Wednesday at the Vicksburg-Warren Athletic Department office on Mission 66. Cost is $7 each, and only cash payments are accepted.

“It was part of our game plan to use this new set. We added a couple of things to help us run the ball more,” Lemons said. “We know we’ve got the playoffs upcoming and we wanted to put it in and see how it did. It worked pretty well.”

The Gators had been using reverses from their slot receivers out of the spread for big plays in games leading into Ridgeland. Malcolm Butler had three touchdowns in two games on the play. Against Ridgeland, Vicksburg only ran it once with Antonio Norfort, scoring on an 8-yard TD run.

Next up for the Gators (8-2) is a first round Class 4A playoff game at home against Pontotoc (6-4). Vicksburg has won five straight, including the last four in dominating fashion.

“It feels real good having some momentum going into the playoffs,” Lemons said. “The Class of ‘09 wants to do something real big after what happened last year.”

Last year, the Gators were 6-2 but lost their last three games, including a first-round playoff loss at West Point to end 6-5.

“Things are looking real good for us,” added VHS defensive end Anthony Addison. “We just need to keep our intensity level up and we’ll have a real good chance of doing something in the playoffs.”

Gators coach Alonzo Stevens also likes where his team is at, heading into this Friday’s first rounder against Pontotoc, the No. 3 team from Region 1-4A.

“We just need to continue to do what we did tonight. Our line did a great job of getting on their blocks. Overall it was an outstanding job on offense, defense and special teams,” Stevens said.

Elsewhere on Friday, Porters Chapel will be in the playoffs for the fifth straight season when it hosts Tallulah Academy in a first-round MPSA Class A game. Tallulah (7-4), which finished a dismal 1-10 last season, is making its first postseason appearance since 2003.

PCA (11-0) is the top-ranked Class A team in the Associated Press private schools poll.

St. Aloysius and Warren Central, meanwhile, will be fighting for their playoff lives in their regular-season finales.

St. Al (7-3, 6-3) will host Stringer, and needs a win to advance to the Class 1A playoffs. The two teams are tied for the fourth and final spot in Region 4-1A. St. Al would be in with a win and eliminated with a loss, but Stringer can still clinch a spot even with a loss.

Stringer holds a head-to-head tiebreaker over third-place Bogue Chitto, which plays second-place Mount Olive on Friday. Wins by Mount Olive and St. Al would create a three-way tie between Stringer, St. Al and Bogue Chitto, with two of the three getting into the playoffs.

Warren Central’s scenario to end a three-year postseason drought isn’t nearly as cut and dried. First, the Vikings (3-6, 2-4 Region 2-5A)need to win at Grenada. Then, Clinton must beat Provine and Northwest Rankin must beat Murrah. All of that would create a three-way tie for the fourth and final spot — and the first-round game with five-time defending state champion South Panola that goes with it.

“It’s all going to depend on what happens other places. We’d have to win, other teams have to lose,” Warren Central coach Curtis Brewer said.

Provine coach Willie Collins, whose team stayed alive with an 18-9 win over Warren Central on Friday, wasn’t sure how the tiebreakers would shake out. He did have one simple explanation for such a scenario, though.

“It’d be a big mess,” he said.


Contact  Jeff Byrd at