Mistakes prove costly for Gators

Published 11:24 am Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Last week’s 35-25 loss to Greenville-Weston will be the hardest one for new Vicksburg coach Tavares Johnson to let go.

Greenville scored two defensive touchdowns in the first half to put the Gators in a 28-0 hole. Later on, a couple of missed conversions kept Vicksburg from closing in once it started to rally.

They’re the kind of mistakes the Gators (1-6, 0-3 Region 2-6A) can’t afford, and the kind of game they can’t afford to let slip away, as they head into a tough final month of the season.

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This week, Vicksburg has to travel to five-time defending champ Madison Central (4-3, 3-0). Other region games with Clinton and Warren Central loom, as well.

Johnson, however, remains focused on his team. The Gators will have to gel around sophomore quarterback Marquez Pickett as Johnson’s son, Tavares Jr., is likely out for the remainder of the season with a broken leg.

“We’re trying our best, but it’s going to take time to turn this program around,” Johnson Sr. said after the loss. “We have got some kids who gave good effort. I thought Edward Davis played well. He caught some touchdown passes.”

Davis nearly brought the Gators all the way back from a 28-0 deficit. He intercepted two passes and recovered a fumble. On the second pick, near the end of the third quarter, he returned it 75 yards for a touchdown to cut the Gators’ deficit to 28-13. Six minutes later, he caught a 4-yard TD pass from Pickett to make it 28-19. Had the Gators made a couple of conversions, it would have been a one-score game with 5:47 to play.

Davis also caught a 44-yard TD pass with 59 seconds left, after Greenville had tacked on another touchdown. Davis finished with three receptions for 51 yards and two touchdowns.

Pickett finished 9-of-16 passing for 103 yards, with two TDs and two interceptions. Pat Brown rushed for 109 yards on 16 carries.

It was enough to make Greenville-Weston coach Eddie Maxon nervous.

“A little bit,” Maxon said. “The picks were my fault. We should have stayed with the run.”

Still, it was the 28-0 deficit that led to the Gators’ sixth loss. A 55-yard interception return was followed 20 seconds later by a blown shotgun snap that was recovered in the end zone by Greenville linebacker Syderrick Watson for a TD.

“This was a big for our kids because it’s our first district win,” Maxon said. “Tavares and I are in the same boat. We both have teams filled with young guys and young guys tend to make a lot of turnovers.”