Johnson stays hot as Gators win again

Published 1:15 am Saturday, October 15, 2016

Joe Johnson turned in another efficient performance, and so did the Vicksburg Gators as they continued to mow a path through Region 2-5A and to the playoffs.

Johnson completed 21 of 30 passes for 288 yards and two touchdowns — both to Raheam Moore — and the Gators easily dispatched Ridgeland 38-14 on Friday night.

In his last three games, Johnson has completed 75.3 percent of his passes for 865 yards and nine touchdowns. His totals Friday made him just the fifth quarterback in Warren County history to throw for more than 2,000 yards in a season and the seventh to throw more than 20 touchdown passes.
Johnson also rushed for 59 yards on Friday.

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“With maturation, the game is slowing down for him. We’re working on read-specific things now. He’s not forcing passes in there. He understands when he needs to run with it,” Vicksburg coach Marcus Rogers said. “I always knew we’d take our lumps last year and reap the benefits in the end. It’s falling into place now.”

Vicksburg (7-2, 3-1 Region 2-5A) clinched its first winning season since 2008, and remained on course for a playoff berth. It will now return home for back-to-back games with Canton and Grenada.

“Our goal was to have a winning season, but that’s not the ultimate goal,” Rogers said. “Vicksburg is a program with a lot of tradition, and we’re trying to return to prominence. Seven wins was not our goal at the beginning of the season, but we’ll take it for right now.”

The Gators never trailed in beating Ridgeland (1-8, 1-3) for the first time since 2008. Johnson threw two touchdown passes to Moore in the first half as Vicksburg built a 21-0 lead.

After Ridgeland scored on a 4-yard run by Jakel Haymon with 1:55 to go in the half, the Gators responded with a quick scoring drive capped by Greg Hayden’s 40-yard field goal as time expired to make it 24-7.
Jeff Scott added a 4-yard TD run midway through the third quarter and Mike Sims had a 2-yard TD run in the fourth to put Vicksburg ahead 38-7.

Moore finished with seven catches for 88 yards, and James Allen caught six for 113 yards. Scott had 94 total yards, while Marlon Hodge had 64 rushing yards and a touchdown and Sims had 35 yards and a touchdown.

Nick Anderson led Vicksburg’s defense with 12 tackles. Hayden was 5-for-5 on PATs in addition to his field goal.

“Pretty solid win,” Rogers said. “We did everything we set our goals to do. We ran the ball, controlled the clock, played turnover-free and forced a couple of turnovers.”