Gators, Vikes prepare for spring games

Published 11:45 am Friday, May 18, 2012

Vicksburg High fans will get their first extended look at the new offensive and defensive systems employed by Tavares Johnson Sr. in action with Saturday’s spring scrimmage at Memorial Stadium.

Unfortunately, they will not get to see his son, Tavares Johnson Jr., in action. He’s out until mid-June after breaking a small bone in his foot. It is the first significant injury of the rising junior’s career. He will go into the fall as the top returning quarterback in Mississippi after passing for over 4,700 yards and 49 touchdowns in two years as a starter at East Side High School in Cleveland. East Side was 14-1 last season.

                                                                                                        

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Spring games

WC hosts Ridgeland Today, 6 p.m.

Vicksburg jamboree Saturday, 10:30 a.m.

                                                                                                        

The senior Johnson sees a bright side to the injury. It won’t affect preseason practice and it allows his staff to evaluate other quarterbacks.

“It’s better now than later,” Johnson Sr. said. “We’ll be fine. We can look at some other guys. Jonathan Tenner will start and we’ll play three in all with Josh Sterling coming in and then Alton Brown. Tenner is a natural leader and he brings a dual threat to the position. Sterling has looked pretty good since coming back from baseball.”

Vicksburg will take on Wilkinson County and Jefferson County in the three-team jamboree. The two visiting schools will play first and then the Gators close out the round robin. It will be the 15th and final day of spring workouts for the Gators. Johnson likes the progress his team has made.

“Our approach has been to find the best 22 players to put on the field,” Johnson said. “We’ve shored up the offensive line with center Steven Tate taking over as a leader along with returning starter Greg Vaughn. Folks are going to see a lot of different personnel packages from us. Garrett Watson, who just kicked last year, has emerged at wide receiver and we hope he catches a lot of passes.”

Defensively, the Gators have installed a three-front defense Johnson used with great success at East Side.

“We’re solid,” Johnson said. “Our linebackers have given us stability.”

Warren Central concludes its third spring under coach Josh Morgan with a spring game with Ridgeland at Viking Stadium tonight at 6.

Morgan said he will dress 79 players and the setup with the Titans will allow for all of them to see action.

“We’ve been able to set it up really well with Ridgeland,” Morgan said. “This will be a situational scrimmage. Our No. 1’s will go against their No. 1’s. The 2’s will play their 2’s, the 3’s play their 3’s and our JV plays their JV. We’ll have kicking situations and some goalline situations as well.”

The key decision of the spring for WC is at quarterback to replace graduating senior Chase Ladd. Alex Stevens, Carlisle Koestler, Hunter Bell and John Morgan McRight will get snaps under center. Koestler was St. Aloysius’ starting quarterback last season.

Kourey Davis, an All-Warren County selection who played both quarterback and wide receiver last year, will stay at wide receiver.

Morgan said he likes the experience the Vikings will return for 2012.

“We feel pretty good about our offensive line and we’ve had two newcomers, Daniel Dotson and Robert Hosemann really come on,” Morgan said. “On defense, we’re really pleased with our first group. We’re just having to look at our depth. We have entire defensive front back from last year and Jarvis Baldwin has been good at linebacker.”