Gators dismantle Lanier

Published 1:39 am Saturday, October 8, 2016

In a game against one of Class 5A’s perennial cellar dwellers, Vicksburg coach Marcus Rogers tasked his team with rising to a championship level and not playing down to the competition.

The Gators took the message to heart and got the job done.

Vicksburg scored on three of its first four possessions, led by 30 points at halftime, and earned a 44-0 win over winless Lanier on Friday night.

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“Our whole goal was to go out and hit them in the mouth so we could execute what we do,” Rogers said. “To be a championship team you have to step it up to a championship level, and we stepped it up early.”

Quarterback Joe Johnson was almost perfect, completing 14 of 17 passes for 269 yards and three touchdowns. In his last two games, Johnson has complete 77.8 percent of his passes for 532 yards, with seven touchdowns and no interceptions.

Wide receiver Raheam Moore also had a big night. He caught eight passes for 166 yards and two touchdowns. Rogers said Moore was motivated by being left off the rosters for both the Mississippi-Alabama and Bernard Blackwell Classic all-star games this week.

“He felt snubbed for those all-star games and felt like he had to prove a point,” Rogers said, before joking, “If he’s going to play like that, I’m kind of glad he got snubbed.”

Johnson and Moore weren’t the only Gators to have big games. Nearly everyone on both sides of the ball had a hand in this one.

Jeff Scott scored two rushing touchdowns and Cardell Spencer had one. James Allen caught four passes for 57 yards and a touchdown, while Marlon Hodge had 85 rushing yards on only eight carries. The Gators had nearly 450 yards of total offense, even while playing their backups for the entire fourth quarter.

On defense, Jomon O’Neal had six sacks and the Gators forced three turnovers. They also recorded a safety on a bad punt snap that sailed out of the end zone and recovered a fumble on special teams.

The Gators posted their second shutout of the season and held their fifth opponent to seven points or less.

“I’m looking for the defense to go three or four games in a row without a shutout, or with holding them to seven or less,” Rogers said.

Vicksburg play at Ridgeland next Friday before returning home to play Canton on Oct. 21.