Columbus keeps Gators out of win column

Published 12:12 am Saturday, September 16, 2017

By Scott Walters
The Commercial Dispatch

COLUMBUS — Through early-season struggles, both Columbus and Vicksburg have been looking for breaks.
Friday night, Columbus finally forced them, grabbing a couple of first-half takeaways which helped pave the way for a 27-7 victory over the Gators in its home opener.

“The two turnovers in the first half killed us,” Vicksburg coach Lorenzo Breland said.“They scored off both of them. When you are battling uphill, you can’t have mistakes like that. It was our first major road test of the year and we didn’t play well.”

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Columbus (1-3) scored on its first four possessions. The Falcons had not led the entire season, but did so after a 59-yard, eight-play drive on their first possession. The Falcons ran the ball the entire drive and scored on a 15-yard run by Patrick Jackson.

Vicksburg (0-4) was then stopped on downs at the Columbus 27-yard line. That set up a 73-yard, six-play drive. Columbus set a new season-high in points when Laterius Stowers hit Jervorious Vance on a 34-yard touchdown pass.

Columbus held Vicksburg to 81 yards of total offense in the first half and led 24-0 at the break.

“We talked all week about finding a way to get a lead,”Columbus coach Randal Montgomery said. “We talked about everything all of the way up to the coin toss. We put a lot of emphasis on that first quarter because I thought the kids would play differently if they found a way to lead.”

Vicksburg kept pressure on Stowers all night. Finally, the Gators broke through for a big play midway through the third quarter.

A sack led to a 55-yard fumble return by Rasheed Knight. He was ruled out at the Columbus 1-yard line and Nick Anderson punched the ball in for a TD.

Columbus responded with an eight-minute scoring drive. Even though the Gators stood tall in the red zone, all momentum from the score was negated by Chris Taylor’s field goal that made it 27-7.

Joe Johnson was 5-of-6 passing for 24 yards for VHS, which only ran 10 plays in the second half.

Derrick Jordan had 154 rushing yards for Columbus and Stowers threw two TD passes. Jordan became the first Columbus player to have a 100-yard rushing game this season.

VHS will host Germantown in its Region 2-5A opener next week.

“We just have to come back to work Monday and be a little more dedicated to what we are doing,” Breland said. “We have to have more attention to detail. We have not had good starts. That is something we have to address. There just has to be a stronger desire to get things done.”