Pirates shut down Gators’ offense

Published 1:35 am Saturday, October 25, 2014

Vicksburg High quarterback Marquez Pickett looks to pass Friday against Pearl. (Paul Barry/The Vicksburg Post)

Vicksburg High quarterback Marquez Pickett looks to pass Friday against Pearl. (Paul Barry/The Vicksburg Post)

On Vicksburg High’s second offensive series Friday night, quarterback Marquez Pickett unleashed a deep ball to a streaking and wide open Kareeme Butler.

The pass was overthrown and incomplete, but considering it didn’t lose yardage it might have been one of the Gators’ better plays of the night.

Pearl sacked Pickett six times and allowed one rushing yard to Vicksburg — a total that was inflated by some late-game gains — in a 51-13 rout of the Gators at Memorial Stadium.

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“We knew we were going to have to score with them. It’s hard to hold them down. I think, for the most part, we contained them. The score is not indicative of that,” Vicksburg coach Marcus Rogers said. “But at the end of the day, I like the effort as far as getting them down and keeping them contained. We could have tackled a little better. But offensively, the best defense is a good offense moving the chains and scoring points. We didn’t get it done.”

Of Vicksburg’s 177 offensive yards, 152 came on two long catches by Butler. He took a screen pass 94 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter, and caught a 58-yard bomb in the third.

Butler finished with five catches for 179 yards, giving him his fourth consecutive 100-yard receiving game.

The rest of the offense, however, had a miserable night.

The Gators (4-5, 2-3 Region 2-5A) didn’t get into positive rushing yardage until their next-to-last carry. Pickett also threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown by Kameron Spann, and missed a wide-open Butler on a half-dozen deep passes. Pearl also scored on an 83-yard kickoff return by Orion Evans.

Vicksburg’s other touchdown came on a 79-yard fumble return by Darrius Williams.

“It’s tough, because we played with them. At the end of the day, plays are out there still to be made and we’re not executing,” Rogers said.

The poor offensive performance doomed what was a deceptively solid effort by Vicksburg’s defense in the first half.

Pearl running back Jordan Wright had 177 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries. It was just the second time in seven games that Wright has been held under 200 yards, but he still surpassed the 2,000-yard mark for the season.

LeDarius Carpenter threw three TD passes for the Pirates to supplement Wright’s running.

Wright also ran for 99 yards in the third quarter alone as Pearl (7-3, 5-0) scored on three consecutive possessions to pull away.

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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