Gators control destiny for playoff berth

Published 11:56 am Tuesday, November 1, 2011

For two years, the last game of the season meant exactly that for the Vicksburg Gators.

They had no chance at the playoffs, nothing to play for but their dignity. When it was over, the team packed up its gear and began the long wait until next year.

Finally, things are different. Heading into Friday’s game against Clinton, the Gators can wishfully add the words “regular season” in front of “finale.” If they beat Clinton, they’ll go to the playoffs for the first time since 2008 — and, for a group of nearly two dozen seniors, the first time ever.

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“I just have to almost cry, because I was on the sideline at Richwood when they were all sophomores and bumbling, and stumbling, and throwing interceptions. Everybody was talking about how sorry they were,“ Vicksburg coach Alonzo Stevens said. “Then I watched them come of age and do things that no other team has done. These guys never stopped. They have fun coming to practice, they don’t give up. This is what high school football is all about, is watching a puppy become a dog.”

Of the three teams still alive for the final playoff berth in Region 2-6A, only Vicksburg (4-6, 2-4 in region play) controls its destiny. Win, and it earns a trip to face top-ranked Olive Branch in the first round. Clinton (4-6, 2-4) must win and have Greenville-Weston lose to Madison Central.