Murrah, Vicksburg meet in 2-6A battle|Gators aim for first win

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 22, 2009

When asked about any stat that would be the primary determining factor against Murrah, Vicksburg coach Alonzo Stevens wasted little time with a reply.

Time of possession.

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Vicksburg at Murrah

“We’ve got to cut them down to 20 yards or less,” Stevens said of preventing the big play, something which has bedeviled the Gators this season. “If they drive 15 or 16 plays, so be it. If we get into a track meet, it’s going to be bad.”

The Gators (0-8, 0-4 Region 2-6A) will need to chew up the clock and avoid getting into a rock-em, sock-em scoring contest with the Mustangs (2-6, 0-4), which boast one of the state’s best wide receiver tandems.

Wideouts James Robinson and Terence Ledbetter have provided Murrah’s primary big-play punch. Ledbetter has caught 12 passes for 140 yards, while Robinson has 10 catches for 132 yards.

“They have two Division I receivers,” Stevens said. “They set up everything. They can go get the ball. We played them all summer in the passing league (7-on-7), so we know about them. We want to keep them in front of us.”

Defensively, Stevens plans to play a lot of zone coverage to force Murrah quarterback Jabari Harris to make throws into tight coverage to Robinson and Ledbetter. Harris is only completing 40 percent of his passes and has two touchdown passes versus five interceptions.

“If we play a man-to-man (defense), they are going to win those jump balls most of the time,” Stevens said. However, the Mustangs will be missing a playmaker, as running back Greg Riley was injured in last week’s 14-0 loss to Warren Central. This season, Riley had rushed for 595 yards on 110 carries.

As a result, the Mustangs are scoring just a shade under 10 points per contest this season.

Defensively, Murrah is yielding just over 23 points per game and in games against common opponents, the Mustangs lost 14-0 to Greenville-Weston and 51-7 to Madison Central.

The key for maintaining balance against Murrah’s porous defense will be balance. Sophomore quarterback Cameron Cooksey was unable to get a rhythm going in the 53-0 loss to Madison Central as several early drops doomed his night throwing the football. He finished 7-of-16 for just 17 yards with two interceptions and no touchdowns.


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