Big numbers, but still no wins for Gators

Published 12:04 pm Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Victories have been hard to come by for Vicksburg High this season. Eye-popping offensive numbers and records have been easy.

Despite losing 76-42 to Northwest Rankin on Friday night — a loss that dropped them to 0-6 this season and 1-16 over the past 1 ½ seasons — the Gators continued to light up the scoreboard on offense. Quarterback Cameron Cooksey had his second straight 300-yard passing game, wide receiver Milan Nasif set a Warren County single-game record with 14 receptions, and Vicksburg surpassed the 40-point mark for the second consecutive week.

Although they’d happily trade some of those superlatives for a few wins, the offensive output has the Gators confident they can hang with anyone and that better days lay ahead.

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“I feel like we can score every drive, no matter who we play,” said Nasif, who had 141 receiving yards and a touchdown against Northwest Rankin. “It doesn’t matter if we play Madison Central, we can score every time.”

The Gators didn’t quite score every time they had the ball on Friday night. Three early turnovers led to 21 points for Northwest Rankin, which eventually proved to be the difference in the game. Still, once they got going the Gators were nearly unstoppable.

They rolled up 520 yards of offense and scored on six of seven possessions from late in the first quarter to early in the fourth. Cooksey completed 34 of 50 passes after starting 0-for-3 with an interception on the first two series, and was only sacked once. In addition to his frequent tosses to Nasif, Cooksey completed seven passes to tight end Namonta Gaines, for 90 yards and a touchdown.

Vicksburg also got its running game going. Kawayne Gaston rushed for 82 yards and three touchdowns and Eric Funchess punched in a short TD.

“The O-line has stepped up tremendously. They’re blocking like pro athletes,” Gaston said. “The running backs are running, Cameron is reading coverages. Myself and Darius Youngblood are averaging 80 yards a game lately.”

It seems like the Gators are also averaging 80 records set per game. The previous week, against Grenada, Cooksey’s 370-yard passing night was the third-highest single-game total in Warren County history. It stayed in that spot for one week, surpassed by his 372-yard effort against Northwest Rankin.

Cooksey also joined former Temple quarterback William Wooley as the only players to have at least two 300-yard games in a career. Wooley surpassed the mark three times, all during the 1970 season. Alvin Stamps had 207 receiving yards against Grenada, the third-best single-game performance in county history. He was soon joined in the record books by Nasif, whose 14 receptions shattered the old record of 11 shared by three players.

Cooksey said the individual accomplishments have helped the Gators find a bright spot in an otherwise disappointing season so far.

“Offensively, it definitely helps keep your head up,” said Cooksey, who has 1,287 passing yards and 11 touchdowns this season.