New addition, win bring smiles to Gators’ faces

Published 7:57 am Friday, October 12, 2018

It’s been a wonderfully busy week for Tim Hughes.

Last Friday morning his wife Rebecca gave birth to their third child, daughter Marleigh Rose. Later that night, his Vicksburg football team beat Cleveland Central for its first region win of the season. Hughes, the head coach, skipped the game, but has been catching up this week as he prepares to take the Gators to Ridgeland for another big matchup.

“It’s welcomed. I wouldn’t want it any other way. It’s new. I’m just thankful that I’ve got a staff that’s behind you, that we pick each other up, and a team that when you miss a ballgame they go and perform,” Hughes said. “That’s just a blessing. I wasn’t there. That had nothing to do with me. That had to do with the players and the coaches that were there doing it. It’s a testament to them.”

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Hughes spent his down time last weekend looking over film of Ridgeland, and then returned to work on Monday to rounds of congratulations from players and coaches.

“It was a real nice situation where it felt like we were in this together. Even through practice (Monday), we had a little more sense of it. It was a nice pick me up for that to happen,” Hughes said.

Getting a big win, especially by improving on some things that had hurt them badly in recent weeks, made it a perfect weekend all around. After giving up more than 1,000 rushing yards in losses to Germantown and Neshoba Central, Vicksburg held Cleveland Central to just 53 yards on the ground and 197 total.

“We actually got better last week. They tried to do a lot of the same stuff that other people were doing to us, and we got better defensively. We had that improvement and we’ve just got to build on that,” Hughes said.

The Gators are also at a point in the season where they can start building toward a berth in the Class 5A playoffs.

Vicksburg (2-4, 1-2 Region 2-5A) is in a three-way tie with Ridgeland (4-3, 1-2) and Callaway (4-3, 1-2) for fifth place in Region 2-5A. Canton (4-4, 0-3) is a game behind them, and three teams are tied for second at 2-1 in the league.

Ridgeland, Canton and Callaway are the Gators’ next three opponents, with the latter two at home. This stretch, during which some of the frontrunners will also be handing each other losses, offers the Gators a chance to play their way up the standings if they can string together a winning streak.

“We’re 2-4 and 1-2 in district. At this time last year they were 1-5 and 1-2 in district. They were an amazing team last year and once everything got rolling it was good for them. Being able to look these kids in the eyes and say you’ve got the opportunity to make the same kind of run, we’ve got to come together, is good,” Hughes said. “It’s a situation where we get to separate ourselves and put ourselves in a real good situation for the rest of the year.”

All games start at 7 p.m.

Vicksburg at Ridgeland (Radio: 107.7 FM/1490 AM)
Glenbrook at Porter’s Chapel (Radio: 104.5 FM)
Warren Central at Murrah (Radio: 105.5 FM)
Hillcrest Christian at St. Aloysius (Radio: 101.3 FM)
Franklin County at Port Gibson
Tallulah Academy at Riverdale Academy
Claiborne Academy at Briarfield Academy
Delta Streets at Sharkey-Issaquena
Union Parish Madison Parish

ONLINE: For live updates on Friday night, visit

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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