Trojans rain on Gators’ parade

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 15, 2008

COLUMBUS — With Trojan Field becoming a muddy mess, the Vicksburg Gators could never get their traction until it was too late.

New Hope scored early and then held on for a 13-7 win over the visiting Gators for a Class 4A second-round playoff victory Friday night.

The Gators, who finished 9-3 on the season, just missed a 35-yard field goal from Patrick Parker on the last play of the first half and then a 39-yarder hit the crossbar on the second play of the fourth quarter.

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The Gators’ other two sustained drives ended on turnovers on downs. Vicksburg finally scored on New Hope’s only mistake in the game, a blown punt snap which the punter failed to kick out of the end zone for a safety. Instead, it was a 27-yard loss to the Trojan 1 with 36 seconds left.

Antonio Norfort scored from there to make it 13-6 with 29.8 seconds left. Parker’s kick cut it to 13-7.

The Gators went for an onsides kick, but it went out of bounds and New Hope was able to kill off the remaining time.

“Inches, that’s how close we were,” VHS coach Alonzo Stevens said. “The field hurt us, but it was raining on them (New Hope) too. We just made too many little mistakes. We get caught moving, a hold, not lined up right.

“Our defense played their hearts out,” Stevens said.

That they did. Four times, the Gators held New Hope on downs.

The Trojans, however, were able to cash in on short fields twice to take a 13-0 lead. The first score came on a 4-yard TD run by Terrance Dentry with 4:24 left in the first quarter. The touchdown capped a 42-yard drive that was aided by a short Vicksburg punt.

The second New Hope score came after a botched pitch by the Gators when the rain was coming down at its peak. Jeremy Wells took a wing handoff and zipped 25 yards for the score to make it 13-0 with 10:18 left in the second quarter. The PAT kick was blocked.

Vicksburg, which was penalized 10 times for 70 yards, had three 20-yard plays called back for a variety of fouls. They finally got something going late in the first half after the defense stopped New Hope for the second time on downs at the VHS 28.

Three first down runs by Les Lemons, who finished with 149 yards on 25 carries, got the Gators in drive. With nine seconds left in the half, Lemons was roughed, allowing Parker a chance at a 35-yard field goal. It was just wide.

“I thought it was in. I thought the second was going to make it, but it hit the upright,” Parker said.

The second miss came on the Gators’ second drive of the third quarter. The first drive picked up 50 yards but ended at the Trojan 18 on downs when Norfort was stopped for a 2-yard loss.

With 4:37 to go, Vicksburg appeared to have a first-down pass play to Kurt Cooksey, but an illegal formation penalty wiped it out. They eventually punted with two minutes left, hoping New Hope would make a mistake.

They did after three straight kneel downs failed to run out the clock and a low punt snap gave the Gators the ball at the Trojan 1. Norfort punched in the TD, but the Gators didn’t get the ball back.


Contact Jeff Byrd at