Despite 0-5 record, Vicksburg Gators make strides|Prep football

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 1, 2009

While it went down as a 7-6 loss, Vicksburg made progress in last Friday’s loss at Grenada in the Region 2-6A opener.

A botched snap and hold on a potential tying PAT prevented the Gators (0-5, 0-1) from tying Grenada in the third quarter. Vicksburg had one last chance late in the fourth quarter but four straight passes fell incomplete and the Chargers (3-2, 1-0) ran out the remaining time.

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7 p.m. Friday, 1490 AM

Vicksburg hosts

Northwest Rankin

“For 47 minutes, I thought we played well. We just had too many dropped balls. We had guys open. We still need to find a way to make plays,” Vicksburg coach Alonzo Stevens said.

The good news for the Gators is that for the first time in five weeks, they did not turn the ball over. Through the first four games, the Gators had committed 20 turnovers.

“In our previous four games, we were long out of it by the fourth quarter because of our turnovers. At Grenada, we stayed in it until the end. We had only one penalty, no fumbles and no interceptions. Grenada put the ball on the ground several times, but we couldn’t make that play. Last year’s team made those plays. They would either block a punt, return a punt back or get that turnover,” Stevens said.

Grenada got its lone score on a 37-yard screen pass from quarterback Channing Martin in the second quarter to go up 7-0. Vicksburg answered in the third quarter when sophomore quarterback Cameron Cooksey broke loose on a 57-yard TD run.

“We ran a power, and instead of handing off, Cooksey pulled the ball back and went with it. It was 25 yards before they saw he had the ball. It was a heads-up play by him,” Stevens said.

Then came the extra point. The Gators had been 2-for-2 on kicks from Travis Haas this season. He didn’t get a chance to make it 3-for-3.

“We didn’t get the kick off. I could live with a block, but we didn’t get the ball down for Travis to have a chance,” Stevens said.

Some other bright spots for the Gators included their rushing offense. They finished with a season-high 96 yards. Mark Chiles had 30 yards on 13 carries. Cooksey’s 57-yard scramble was the team’s longest run of the year. He ended with 24 yards.

The Gators, though, were just 1-of-6 passing for 4 yards.

On another note, the  Gators started four underclassmen (sophomores or juniors) on the offensive line, along with sophomore Cooksey, a sophomore at quarterback and underclassmen at running back and receiver as well.

Three Gators were missed the game with injuries. Standout defensive end Kederick Parson, the team’s second-leading tackler, was held out with a high ankle sprain.

Calvin Jones is out with a ligament damage to a finger and safety Trey Darden was held out because of a bad shoulder

Parson is expected back for Northwest Rankin (0-5, 0-1).


Contact Jeff Byrd at