Gators gear up to face Clinton star Akers in spring game Thursday
Published 8:52 am Wednesday, May 11, 2016
Clinton quarterback Cam Akers might have all eyes on him in his senior season, but Vicksburg wants to close the blinds on his shine.
The Arrows travel to Memorial Stadium to face Vicksburg in both teams’ spring game Thursday at 6:30 p.m.
“With pressure on him, any man with 11 alligators coming at him trying to chomp at his feet, it makes you do strange things. He’s not going to be running around crazy,” Vicksburg coach Marcus Rogers said.
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Once Rogers and his team laid eyes on Clinton’s 2015 game against Madison Central and witnessed the playmaking ability of Akers, they started developing a potential antidote for the star player who completed 141 of 250 passes for 2,331 yards and 20 touchdowns last season.
Akers originally committed to Alabama before his junior season, but has since decommitted. Although he plays quarterback for Clinton, he’s rated as a five-star running back by several recruiting services. He rushed for 1,418 yards and 16 touchdowns in 2015. In three seasons as a starter with the Arrows, he’s racked up 8,007 total yards and accounted for 84 touchdowns.
“Within our scheme we’ll contain him. He’s a kid that plays in the box and we have box kids as far as tackle to tackle. Even if he’s at quarterback or running back we’ll account for him,” Rogers said. “But he’s not the only playmaker they have.”
Clinton receivers Kam’ron White and Darius Maberry also provide a challenge for the Gators. The duo combined for 45 receptions for 874 yards and nine touchdowns last season.
Rogers will be looking for growth in his team from their season-ending playoff loss to Oxford in December, and offseason workouts to become a powerhouse in Class 5A.
So far, the Gators are headed in the right direction with Joe Johnson lining up under center. The junior quarterback threw for 1,442 yards and 16 touchdowns last season, his first as a starter.
“We scrimmaged Friday and he looked good under pressure. He’s throwing the ball, standing strong in the pocket. He’s doing everything he’s supposed to do to take this team to a new level,” Rogers said.
When the Gators do step up to take the field on offense, they’ll look down the field to see a 3-4 defense ready to hit. Arrows’ coach Judd Boswell, who also calls the team’s defense, implements an array of blitzes from several different places on the field.
However, Johnson has the luxury of taller receivers in Raheam Moore, D’Angelo Dixon, James Allen and Jeff Scott going up and securing the ball.
“With all those three trees out there and then we have a jitterbug slot right there, I think we’ll be able to do some good things on Thursday,” Rogers said.
Sticking with a system emphasizing running the ball and transitioning Mike Sims to running back from defense — where he had 32 total tackles as a safety — Rogers said this would give his team a powerful running game, which he needs after losing graduating seniors Timothy Jackson and Antonio Brown.
“The transition to running back has been smooth,” Rogers said. “It gives us a power running game with Marlon Hodge, a one-two punch. Our offense is looking real well. We know what we’re going to do defensively.
“Our defense is going to swarm the football and do what they do. Nick Anderson, Michael Sullivan, Jomon O’Neal, Evan Mobely at corner and Rogerick Hicks at another corner with Elmer Johnson, it’s going to be something to see.”
SPRING FOOTBALL GAMES
• Vicksburg vs. Clinton,Thursday, 6:30 p.m., at VHS
• Porters Chapel vs. Clinton Christian, Saturday, 10 a.m., at PCA
• Warren Central at Brandon, May 19, 6 p.m.
• St. Aloysius will not have a spring game