Greyhounds wallop Gators

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 22, 2009

As they grow and mature as a football team, the Vicksburg Gators can expect to have some bad nights.

They can only hope there aren’t many worse than Friday.

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Sam Noblin threw two touchdown passes and ran for two more scores, backup quarterback Garrett Somers threw two TD passes, and Ocean Springs clobbered Vicksburg 47-6 on Friday night in the season-opening Red Carpet Bowl.

Ocean Springs, one of the top teams in Class 6A, ran wild on a VHS defense that only had two starters back from last season. The Greyhounds amassed 300 rushing yards and 20 first downs while holding Vicksburg to 107 total yards and four first downs. Vicksburg also committed five turnovers, four of them in the second half.

It was Vicksburg’s worst loss in a Red Carpet Bowl since a 48-0 rout at the hands of West Point in 1983.

“We started 19 youngsters against the fourth-best team in the state. And then we had mistakes, too,” said Vicksburg coach Alonzo Stevens. “When you go 12 plays and punt, then seven plays and punt, then 10 plays and punt, then fumble a snap, you can’t win. It’s hard to play No. 4 and you too. It was two against one.”

It didn’t take long for Ocean Springs to take control.

On the third play of the game Noblin faked an inside handoff, kept the ball around the right side of the line, and broke into daylight. The only Gator with a chance to stop him, linebacker Cambridge Williams, dove and missed around the 40-yard line and Noblin cruised into the end zone for a 64-yard touchdown. Allen Howze added the two-point conversion run on a swinging gate play to put Ocean Springs ahead 8-0 just 81 seconds into the game.

“We ran the option to the right. The defensive end closed and I saw the crease and pulled it outside,” Noblin said. “The first game is always tough on the offense. But we came back and found it and put up some points.”

Vicksburg’s defense kept it in the ballgame by forcing two turnovers in the first half, but the offense was stuck in neutral. The Gators punted four times, lost a fumble and ran out the clock on six first-half possessions. They did not record a first down. Ocean Springs, meanwhile, added to the lead on Noblin’s second touchdown run, a 4-yarder, and a 16-yard scoring pass from Noblin to Joe Morrow that made it 23-0 with 57 seconds left in the half. Noblin added a 51-yard TD pass to Hunter Steiner on the Greyhounds’ first possession of the second half before giving way to Somers.

Vicksburg’s lone offensive highlight came way too late to matter. With about five minutes left, sophomore quarterback Cameron Cooksey launched a 61-yard touchdown pass to Alventray Tarleton. The score made it 47-6, and accounted for most of the Gators’ yardage.

Despite the one-sided loss, Stevens tried to stay upbeat. He pointed to the play of his defense, which was on the field for 69 of the game’s 109 snaps and the team’s overall youth as reasons for optimism.

“If I had a veteran team I’d know I had a problem. When you look at what we did to ourselves, that’s correctable,” Stevens said. “I don’t think it’s a bad sign. If I’m reading it right, these guys are going to be right where they need to be when we get to district.”


Contact Ernest Bowker at