Wolfe, Gators chow down on Columbus

Published 12:33 am Saturday, September 15, 2018

The smell coming off of Tim Hughes, of Gatorade mixed with hours-old sweat, stung the nostrils like cheap cologne.

Hughes, beaming as he watched his players celebrate a victory for the first time, could not have cared less. It was the sweet smell of success.

Tyrese Wolfe returned two of his three interceptions for touchdowns and added a third score on an 85-yard kickoff return as Vicksburg High beat Columbus 45-28 Friday night for its first win of the season — and of Hughes’ career as a head coach.

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Hughes received a Gatorade shower in the final minute of a long, hot and humid night at Memorial Stadium. He joked that he’d rather have had his players pour it down his throat than over his head.

“I felt like I wanted a drink more than I wanted to get doused by it, because I’m famished right now,” Hughes said.

Vicksburg (1-2) enjoyed a breakout performance in all three phases of the game after being outscored 83-6 in its first two outings.

Levi Wyatt threw one touchdown pass and ran for another score, while Tacarie Stewart caught a touchdown pass and ran for 115 yards and two more touchdowns.

Wyatt completed 16 of 29 passes for 130 yards and one interception.

On defense, the Gators recovered two fumbles in the third quarter and had five total takeaways in the game. Wolfe returned an interception 35 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter to put the Gators up 39-28, and then iced the game with a zig-zagging 95-yard return with 1:30 to go in the fourth quarter.

Wolfe also had another fourth-quarter interception near the goal line to snuff out a Columbus scoring threat, and a huge game on both offense and special teams. He caught seven passes for 74 yards while playing wide receiver and, in addition to the kickoff he did return for a touchdown, had a second kickoff return touchdown negated by a penalty.

“Your energy, when your body is moving and stuff, when you’re going you’re going to go full speed and nobody can stop you,” Wolfe said of his performance.

Most of the game was a defensive battle, but the second quarter was a shootout. The teams combined for 47 points in the quarter, and four touchdowns in the last three minutes.

Stewart scored on runs of 20 and 2 yards, and caught a 7-yard TD pass from Wyatt. Columbus (0-4) got touchdown runs of five yards by Devarkus Ramsey and three yards by Karon Hawk, as well as a touchdown pass from Jaelen Craddieth to Matthew Leach with 10 seconds left.

When the smoke cleared, Vicksburg was clinging to a 33-28 halftime lead.

Wolfe did all of the scoring in the second half with his two interception returns to carry Vicksburg to the victory.

“Losing’s a habit, but so is winning. So we get to start a good habit. It was just discipline stuff, to forget the big picture and pay attention to the small pictures. Win each individual battle and let the game unfold,” Hughes said. “I wanted the payoff at the end, because they’ve been putting in the work. Now they get that payoff, and that’s something you can build on.”

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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