Gators looking for a boost in confidence

Published 11:33 am Thursday, October 1, 2015

Marcus Rogers and his Vicksburg Gators have a goal to host a playoff game this season. It would be the first time Memorial Stadium hosted a playoff game since 2008, when the New England Patriots’ Malcolm Butler donned the green and white.

In order to accomplish their goal they have to finish first or second in Region 2-5A, which means winning the remainder of their games starting on the road at Neshoba Central (1-5, 0-1 Region 2 5A) on Friday.

“You just have to let it play out. One thing we’ll find out this week, Grenada is playing Germantown. If Grenada beats Germantown then we still control our own destiny if we win out,” Rogers said.

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Rogers said his team must get back in the win column after losing 31-12 to Germantown last week The Gators play off confidence and getting back on the winning side of the game is the best way to build it back up.

The game plan against Neshoba is put his playmakers on the field. Wide receiver Tedarious Brown has 30 receptions for 464 yards and four touchdowns this season and junior Raheam Moore has 12 catches for 116 yards and two scores. Senior Paul Wilson and Brown have also contributed in the return game.

“Getting the Jeff Scotts and the Paul Wilsons and giving them the ball in space and letting them make plays,” Rogers said.

“Also have Tedarious and Raheam out there making plays will be a big plus for us.”

Last week against Germantown, the Gators threw four interceptions and lost a fumble. To cut back on potential turnovers Rogers wants to run the ball more. Quarterback Joe Johnson leads the team with 263 rushing yards and a 6.7-yard per carry average, but the rest of the Gators are averaging just 4 yards per carry.

Despite those stats, Rogers remains committed to the run. He said even an ineffective running game has some benefits.

“I feel like if we keep running the ball and punting, it’s better than throwing a pick six,” Rogers said. “We’re going to limit possessions for them and we’re going to try and grind it out. We’re going to pick our spots to throw.”

Rogers thinks his team will have success running the ball against Neshoba. He’ll put Nick Anderson at the fullback position to open up creases. The trio of Antonio Brown, Marlon Hodge and Tim Jackson will share carries. Jackson will also get reps at quarterback.

Johnson will also see some more rushing attempts after he ran for 103 yards against Germantown. Rogers said he wanted to limit Johnson’s exposure to contact.

“I was trying to take it at a pedestrian rate with him since he was the only quarterback we had,” Rogers said. “Devontay Knight will be back, which will be a big addition to our program. “

Offensively, the Gators have to be aware of Neshoba’s playmakers Corey Deaton and Kavonte McCarty.

Deaton has completed 23 of 58 passes for 346 yards and three touchdowns.

He’s also rushed for another 311 yards. McCarty has 492 rushing yards on 110 attempts.

“They’re a pretty good running ball club. Last year I think they had 480 yards rushing. We want to come out and tear the box down,” Rogers said. “We know they can’t throw so we’re going to turn them into a one dimensional team.”

Defensively, Zackari Smith and Keaton Abel are on the Gators’ radar. Abel and Smith have combined for 99 total tackles.

“They swarm to the ball pretty good,” Rogers said. “They’re a pretty good ball club. Their record doesn’t show it right now but it’s no indication of what kind of team they are.”