Fumbles costly for Gators

Published 2:21 am Saturday, October 17, 2015

In addition to losing the track meet that was the matchup against Ridgeland, Vicksburg more so beat themselves in its 31-21 loss to the Titans at Memorial Stadium.

In the first half alone, Ridgeland (3-6, 3-1 Region 2-5A) ran the football for 170 yards, of which Torrye Evans did most of the dirty work. The Gators lost three fumbles, with one being returned five yards for a score early in the second quarter. They fumbled again on their next drive and finally in the third quarter.

“I thought our kids came out and played hard,” said Ridgeland coach Kenny Burton. “That’s a good football team over there at Vicksburg. Some of the turnovers early on kind of killed them and put us in situations where we’re able to capitalize on. I think we’re fairly equal.”

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With an explosive runner like Evans going for 120 yards, including a 14-yard touchdown, it became frustrating to try and stop the Titans’ rushing attack.

After he ran for the Titans’ final touchdown to increase the lead to 31-7, the Gators could’ve quit but Vicksburg coach Marcus Rogers is proud of them for sticking through to the end.

The Gators (4-4, 1-3) rallied for two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to trim the deficit to 31-21, but the second score came with 1:21 left.

“They could’ve tucked their tail, they could’ve laid down. They kept their head up and kept going. We just got so far behind,” Rogers said. “At the end of the day I liked the way we kept fighting and showed pride.”

Evans averaged about 5 yards per carry and often leaped over several Gator defenders as he exploded through their defensive line.

“They have a pretty good run game. What gets lost is, we’re so small and when a team runs right at us it gives us problems,” Rogers said. “We had some chances to make some plays to stop them and we shot ourselves in the foot.”

Burton felt like the Gators were going to get the ball in the hands of Tedarious Brown, which they succeeded in doing. Brown scored twice, on runs of 6 and 15 yards.

Devontay Knight scored the only other touchdown, on a 3-yard run in the in the fourth quarter. This was the backup quarterback’s second game back after sustaining a preseason injury.

The Gators had 166 yards on the ground despite their early turnovers.

“The same thing happened to us in all four of our losses, the turnover bug, the fumbles killed us,” Rogers said. “On the one fumble where they scored it looked like they just took it from us.”

Vicksburg only had two fumbles total in its first seven games.

“We’ve been controlling the ball pretty good all year. To fumble back to back is deflating,” Rogers said. “To get three fumbles and all of them inside of the 30 going in hurt us in the end.”