Vicksburg set to face mighty MC

Published 11:14 am Friday, October 12, 2012

Seven games into his first season at Vicksburg High, coach Tavares Johnson Sr. compared the current state of his Gators to his very first job at John F. Kennedy High School in Mound Bayou.

“Mound Bayou was coming off a winless season the year before, but we were able to change the mindset and we were able to get some wins by the end of the year,” Johnson said. “Here, we’ve just been one or two plays away. If we make those plays, we have a different record. We’ve basically beat ourselves against Jim Hill and Greenville, but that’s a sign of a young team.”

Vicksburg is 1-6 overall, and 0-3 in Region 2-6A after a frustrating 35-25 loss to Greenville-Weston last week. It gets much tougher tonight when the Gators travel to take on five-time defending region champ Madison Central (4-3, 3-0).

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Johnson said his team must keep a positive attitude.

“We just have to keep swinging and depend on each other,” Johnson said.

Madison Central has added a bit more diversity to its offense this season. After a 1-3 start, the Jaguars have bounced back with three straight region wins, including last week’s 50-28 victory over Warren Central.

Quarterback Jake Schwartz has thrown for 1,344 yards and nine touchdowns, with nearly half the total going to wide receiver Keith Williams. Williams has 36 catches for 702 yards.

The Jaguars’ running game, however, remains potent. Senior fullback Daniel Goodspeed had 159 yards against Warren Central and has gained 306 of his 506 total yards in the last two games.

“They still run the spread option, but they can change it up in a hurry with four wides,” Johnson said. “On defense they’ve switched to an odd-front. They liked to outscheme you and make you play assignment football.”

Sophomore Marquez Pickett will make his second straight start as Vicksburg’s quarterback since the loss of Tavares Johnson Jr. to a broken leg. Pickett completed 9 of 16 passes for 103 yards and two touchdowns against Greenville-Weston.

Junior running back Pat Brown now has 304 rushing yards to lead the team. Sophomore Edward Davis has become the Gators’ big-play threat on both sides of the ball. He had two interceptions against Greenville, including a 75-yard TD return, and caught both scoring passes from Pickett. He leads the team with 17 receptions, including five TDs.