Senior running back Stewart emerges as workhorse, big play threat for VHS

Published 8:00 am Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Back in May, Tacarie Stewart announced his presence in Vicksburg High’s lineup with a thrilling 96-yard touchdown run in the spring game against Scott Central.

It was a great play by a senior who hadn’t played football in two years, and so far this season he’s adding enough to it to put together a pretty nice highlight package.

Stewart has emerged as a workhorse back capable of both big plays and short, punishing runs for the Gators. He had 164 total yards and a receiving touchdown last Friday against Warren Central, a week after he played nearly every snap on offense and defense in the season opener against Clinton.

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Vicksburg has an open date this week, and will next play at home on Sept. 14 against Columbus.

“It’s just a load that I’m going to have to carry. I’m going to have to step up and be a leader for the team,” Stewart said.

Stewart ran for 57 yards against Clinton in a 48-0 loss. The Gators fell 35-6 to Warren Central, but moved the ball a lot better. They had more than 300 yards of total offense, and Stewart was a big part of the game plan.

Stewart broke off a 53-yard run in the second quarter, and caught five passes in the second half as the Gators tried to get back in the game. He took a pair of screen passes 15 and 23 yards on one drive, then capped it off with a 9-yard reception in the end zone for Vicksburg’s first touchdown of the season.

Stewart finished with 95 rushing yards on 15 attempts, and six receptions for another 64 yards.

“I think he was phenomenal. I think he got to show some people what he’s about,” Vicksburg coach Tim Hughes said. “They’re (Warren Central) dang good. It wasn’t cheap stuff. It wasn’t like he just got out in the open. He dusted people off, he broke some tackles, he outran some people. He just has that type of ability and speed. He’s been out of football for two years, so he’s getting back into it. I don’t see anything but going up for him.”

Hughes added that Stewart could be doing even more for the team if needed. After seeing the physical toll playing every snap took on him in the opener, the coaching staff played him solely on offense against Warren Central to keep him fresh.

“He’s a gamer,” Hughes said. “If we could afford it, then he would probably be our best linebacker on the field. He doesn’t just catch, he doesn’t just run hard. He’s maybe our best tackler on the team. We’ve just got to have him in that (running back) position.”

Being the Gators’ starting running back seems to suit Stewart just fine.

Stewart ran for 164 yards on only 16 carries as a sophomore in 2016, then missed last season because of academic issues. He’s quickly making up for lost time.

“I think it’s an opportunity, and that’s what I love about him, because he’s not letting that opportunity go,” Hughes said. “He could tone it down or be doing whatever. He’s taking advantage of it. We’re just going to continue to get better for him, and when we do you’re going to see some big stuff, some big number games and things like that.”

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 140-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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