Offensive woes don’t worry Rogers

Published 10:05 am Thursday, August 27, 2015

By Ernest Bowker

The Vicksburg Post


Going into last week’s season opener, Vicksburg High’s game plan was to pile up yardage on the ground, hit a few big passes and pile up a ton of points.

It went 1-for-3.

The Gators did connect for two touchdown passes in a 14-13 win over Harrison Central, but struggled otherwise. They finished with only 76 rushing and 195 total yards and scored 14 points. It was a less than stellar debut, but not one coach Marcus Rogers is losing sleep over. He pointed to several missed opportunities and a strong defensive effort as signs of how good his team can be with a little better execution.

“We missed on about five or six (deep passes). We looked at the film and evaluated the film, and we left a lot of plays on the field,” Rogers said. “As opposed to their offense against our defense, they swarmed all night. With us leaving those plays on the field offensively, we feel better knowing the defense has got our back. Once the offense starts clicking, and I know it’s going to come, we’re going to be a dangerous team.”

Despite its low yardage total, the Gators’ offense did come within a hair of clicking against Harrison Central.

Brandon King dropped a potential touchdown pass in the first half, and Tedarius Brown another in the fourth quarter. Sophomore quarterback Joe Johnson, making his first start, only completed 5 of 19 passes but missed open receivers on deep routes several times.

Rogers said Harrison Central put 11 defenders close to the line of scrimmage to stop the run and force Johnson to beat them. He eventually did, connecting with Brown on a 73-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter and Raheam Moore on a 23-yarder for the game-winner with 51 seconds left.

Rogers said his young quarterback only needs to learn patience to turn some of those incompletions into big plays.

“He only got sacked twice. His biggest deal is seeing pressure that’s not there,” Rogers said. “They brought pressure but he got happy feet a couple of times and threw it earlier than we wanted him to. So it’s just being patient and sitting there taking the hit and completing passes.”

Rogers added that his line blocked well for Johnson and the running backs. The 11-man fronts and blitz packages they faced simply overwhelmed them from time to time.

“I saw some pluses with the offensive line. They blocked the first level real well. It was hard to get to the second level because there was so many of them,” Rogers said. “Once we go against conventional defenses, and I know we’ll see that starting this week, we should be fine.”

The Gators will get another chance to get their offense on track when they travel to face Terry Friday night. Terry hasn’t had a winning season since 2006, but beat Raymond 35-8 in its season opener last week.

Senior quarterback Jordan Johnson ran for 114 yards and two touchdowns in the win, and four different players scored rushing touchdowns. Terry rolled up 339 rushing yards in all.

The impressive offensive showing is just one reason Rogers is wary of the Bulldogs.

Vicksburg will return to Viking Stadium, the site of its Red Carpet Bowl victory, to play archrival Warren Central next week. Rogers said he’s already caught glimpses of players and fans peeking ahead to the next game instead of zeroing in on this one.

“I think all the momentum is with us. I think we’re riding high. I explained to them this summer not to let the highs get too high or the lows get too low. Just stay even keel and keep doing what we’ve been doing — working hard and don’t get caught in this trap game this week,” Rogers said. “That’s what this is, is a trap game. A lot of people are starting to talk about the Warren Central game. We told them to make sure we focus on Terry.”

Up next

Vicksburg at Terry

Friday, 7 p.m.

Radio: 1490 AM

For live scoring updates on Friday night, visit and

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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