Vicksburg looks sharp in spring scrimmage

Published 1:00 am Saturday, May 17, 2014

Vicksburg High running back Marlon Hodge runs with the ball during Friday's spring game against Greenville-Weston. (Ernest Bowker/The Vicksburg Post)

Vicksburg High running back Marlon Hodge runs with the ball during Friday’s spring game against Greenville-Weston. (Ernest Bowker/The Vicksburg Post)

On one of Vicksburg High’s last offensive plays Friday night, running back Antonio Brown broke into the open field and bounced off a tackler.

Running to his left, he spotted another Greenville-Weston defender, squared up, and lowered his shoulder. The hit took both players to the ground, but brought the crowd to its feet.

In a spring scrimmage where no official score was recorded, it was a highlight-reel play that Gator fans and players will talk about all summer ­— and just the type of thing new head coach Marcus Rogers was hoping for.

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“He took all the fight out of them,” Rogers said. “That run solidified what we were trying to do. Now I believe that the community is talking. Now we’ve got to capitalize on this summer break and get everything we need in.”

Vicksburg beat Greenville-Weston 27-12 in the modified scrimmage in which the teams took turns running 10-play sequences on offense.

The Gators scored twice on fumble returns by Keithen Hargro, on a 55-yard touchdown pass from Marquez Pickett to Tedarius Brown, and on a 5-yard run by backup quarterback Timothy Jackson.

Vicksburg also missed a chance at another touchdown when Marlon Hodge fumbled at the 10-yard line at the end of a long run.

“I think we had a great showing tonight. We have some work to do, quite naturally. We weren’t perfect,” Rogers said. “I think our defense settled in after the first drive and we got stops back-to-back-to-back. Offensively, we had some drops here and there, but they did nothing to stop us.”

In addition to Hargro’s two touchdown returns — a 25-yarder early in the scrimmage and an 80-yarder near the end — the Gators’ defense kept Greenville in check for most of the night.

The unit harassed quarterback Eric Grossley and stood tall on a goal line situation during the final sequence of plays.

On a third-and-goal from the 10-yard line, Grossley was hit by Jeremy Parsons on a blitz, and Parsons stripped the ball as he made the tackle. Hargro scooped it up and sprinted 80 yards for the TD that put a fitting bow on the Gators’ first spring with their new coach.

Rogers was looking for a good jumping-off point into summer workouts and preseason practice in August, and seemed to get it with the lively effort in the spring game.

“One thing they showed me was, the work we’ve been putting in as far as the execution, the tempo, everything is there. We just have to keep building off of it,” Rogers said. “Everything that happened to us, was inflicted by us. We shot ourselves in the foot. They never did anything to stop us. We’ll clean those up over the summer, watch the film as a staff, and get better.”

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 140-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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