Vicksburg Gators find success with trio of running backs

Published 9:21 am Monday, September 14, 2015

Over the summer, Vicksburg coach Marcus Rogers put his eggs in Tim Jackson’s basket at the running back position. Through the first three games of the season Jackson totaled 103 rushing yards on 33 carries, averaging 34 yards a game.

Going into the Gators’ season opener, Rogers wanted to share the ball to look for another explosive back, and he might’ve found a holy trinity going forward.

“We got some three back sets we hadn’t pulled out yet. Sometimes you’ll come out and you’ll see two receivers out, we’ll have the traditional wishbone back there. It’s good to have three guys who can run the ball,” Rogers said.

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In last weeks 30-0 shutout win against Yazoo City Jackson, 2015 Vicksburg Post Playmakers cover athlete Antonio Brown and Marlon Hodge rushed for a combined 148 yards on 26 carriers. Brown scored twice on two short burst of a 1- and 5-yard runs.

Jackson and Brown carried the ball 10 times apiece for 54 yards and 66 yards respectively, while Hodge recorded 28 yards on six tries.

Rogers saw glimpses out of Hodge and tried not to wear Brown out as much, since he’s the team’s best defensive player.

“It’s possible for him (Brown) to go both ways cause he has that motor, but I really need Marlon Hodge to go ahead and step it up and I think he played a good game. He ran the ball hard,” Rogers said.

The trio of backs has different styles of running the ball and feel better about the teams running ability. They also hope with their abilities, they can make it difficult for teams to stop their run game the season.

Jackson is short in stature, making it difficult for the defense to wrap him up coming out of the backfield. He also completed a 9-yard pass at the end of the Yazoo City game, but enjoys being in his primary position at running back.

“I love playing two different roles. The atmosphere is fun,” Jackson said.

Brown is physical, fast and can muscle his way into the end zone in short yardage situations. He enjoys playing both sides of the ball, gives all his effort when on the field and enjoys being on defense the most.

“I just keep grinding, keep working hard and that how I keep improving on both sides,” Brown said.

Hodge is tall and physical and prepared for the game by running hills and worked on inside drills in practice. He hopes to see more playing time further in the season.

“Coach just told me to run the ball hard and do what I had to do.”

The win against Yazoo City was special for the team as they commemorated 25-year coach Bobby Huell, who passed away in July after a fight with cancer.

Huell taught the trio about ball security, staying low on the runs and to keep their legs moving.

Off the field, his lessons were about staying out of trouble, keeping their noses clean and in their books.

Jackson, Brown and Hodge described Huell as a great man and a father figure to them.

“He made us what we are today,” Hodge said.