Gators aim to snap recent losing streak

Published 11:26 am Friday, October 19, 2012

As a former Murrah player, Vicksburg defensive coordinator Darrell Scott has seen and heard it all about current Mustang phenom Malik Dear. Tonight at Memorial Stadium, Scott hopes his plan to slow down Dear will work and give the Gators a much needed victory.

Murrah (4-4, 1-3) represents homecoming for Vicksburg (1-7, 0-4 Region 2-6A) but for Scott, the game is more than that.

“This is such a big game for me because I came from Murrah,” Scott said. “Not only do I don’t want to lose to them, but our kids don’t want to lose homecoming.”

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

To get a win, the Gators must stop Dear. It’s been a tough task for everyone, from region-leading Madison Central to last week against Warren Central. Dear ran for 166 yards against WC, but the Vikings managed to make enough plays on offense and win 35-31.

Scott was a Mustang standout at linebacker and went on to play at Jackson State. Dear is a multifaceted skill player who has lined up at wide receiver, quarterback and running back this season. Coming into the Vicksburg contest, he has 701 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns with another 566 receiving yards off 35 catches and seven touchdowns.

“Malik reminds me more of a Dundrecous Nelson (Jackson State basketball player),” Scott said. “He has that overall skill set of running and catching ability. But he also has the small intangibles like having the will to win and to do the work to become a great player.”

Murrah has more than just Dear. Quarterback Vonnie Howard has completed 66 of 105 passes for 1,058 yards and 12 touchdowns. He was picked off three times against Warren Central, including Kourey Davis’ interception in the end zone in the final seconds that preserved the Vikings’ win.

Vicksburg comes off a 58-6 loss to Madison Central. Scott was disappointed in the performance.

“We’re still making mistake after mistake and their just mental things,” Scott said. “One area where we have improved on, though, is we’ve gotten better against stopping the run.”

Gators linebacker Shaquan James agrees.

“We have stopped the run better and I believe if the defense will show up, we can stop Dear,” James said. “He puts on his uniform just like we do and that makes it possible for us to stop him.”

A big part of the Gators’ game plan will be use Johnathan Tenner at quarterback and run the ball. Vicksburg had some success with it against Madison Central with 95 yards gained between Tenner and two other backs.

“I’m the quarterback this week and I think it gives us a better chance to win because I’m about helping the team out,” Tenner said.