VHS wins, keeps slim playoff hopes alive

Published 1:20 am Saturday, October 24, 2015

With their season reduced to a series of one-game playoffs, the Vicksburg Gators responded Friday night and earned the right to move on to the next one.

Joe Johnson threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to DeAngelo Dixon, backup quarterback Devontay Knight set up another touchdown with a long run, and the Gators hung on to beat Canton 19-16 in a must-win game.

Vicksburg (5-4, 2-3 Region 2-5A) likely needs to win the rest of its games to advance to the postseason. It’ll play on the road at first-place Grenada next week and then finish the regular season at home against Holmes County Central.

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“We’re going to take it one game at a time. Our focus now is on Grenada. They haven’t lost yet in the region, but maybe we can catch them looking ahead,” Vicksburg coach Marcus Rogers said.

Against Canton (3-6, 1-4), the Gators raced out to a 19-7 lead at halftime. In addition to Johnson’s touchdown pass to Dixon, Jamario Hill recovered a bad punt snap in the end zone and Knight had a 37-yard run to set up a 3-yard touchdown run by Antonio Brown.

“I like what we’re doing offensively,” Rogers said. “Devontay Knight and Joe Johnson both had good nights. They complement each other real well. I feel like I’ve got two of the best quarterbacks in 5A.”

The Gators, though, came out a bit flat in the second half. Canton cut it to 19-16 by the end of the third quarter, and was poised to get the ball back with about 2 minutes left after making a defensive stop.

Vicksburg punter Greg Hayden then unleashed a 66-yard bomb that was downed at the Canton 3-yard line. The Vicksburg defense stiffened, Canton turned it over on downs, and the Gators escaped with a victory.

“We rushed the passer well and played good defense, like we’ve been doing all year,” Rogers said. “We persevered. Once we get a win, the whole mentality of the team changes.”

Up next

Vicksburg at Grenada

Friday, 7 p.m.

Radio: 1490 AM