Gators’ rally falls short against Canton

Published 1:39 am Saturday, October 20, 2018

By Brandon Shields
For The Vicksburg Post

It came down to the very end.

After blocking a field goal with 2:32 left in the game, Canton’s Rashawn Meeks intercepted a Levi Wyatt pass on the next play that finished Vicksburg High’s comeback bid and sealed a 42-34 win for the Tigers in a critical Region 2-5A matchup at Memorial Stadium on Friday night.

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With Ridgeland’s loss to Neshoba Central, both teams’ playoff chances are still intact.

With two games left in regular season Ridgeland would need to lose their last two games, Canton (6-4, 2-3 Region 2-5A) needs just one more win, and Vicksburg (2-6, 1-4) needs to win out.

“We are getting better and we’ve still got a shot to get in the playoffs,” Vicksburg coach Tim Hughes said. “Canton got us on some big plays tonight and made more plays than we did early. We’ve still got a lot to fight for, we’ve just got to go take care of business one game at a time.”

Canton was up 42-20 and in complete control, but Vicksburg made a spirited comeback.

Tacarie Stewart scored on a 59-yard touchdown run on the last play of the third quarter to cut the lead to 42-27.

After forcing a punt, the Gators marched 55 yards on five plays, capped off by a 20-yard touchdown pass from Levi Wyatt to Tyrese Wolfe.

Canton drove to the Vicksburg 9-yard line, but Vicksburg blocked a field goal. On the next play, Wyatt’s pass sailed over the intended receiver and Meeks was there for the interception to seal it for the Tigers. Meeks also had another interception that he returned 81 yards for a touchdown that put Canton up 42-20 late in the third quarter.

Wyatt missed all of this week’s practices with a shoulder injury and did not start Friday night. He entered the game at the start of the second half and completed 6 of 9 passes for 74 yards, with one touchdown and two interceptions.

Wolfe caught six passes for 138 yards and two touchdowns.

With Wyatt out, the Gators leaned heavily on the run early in the game. Stewart carried th eball 18 times for 152 yards and three touchdowns.

“Levi got cleared today to play and he came out in the second half and did what he does and competed,” Hughes said. “We fought to the very end. Our offense is more pass, but with Levi out we had to run the ball more and it did accomplish something. We adjusted in the second half and had some big stops defensively, so we could get back in the ball game.”

For Canton, Jaiden Burns had three catches for 68 yards and two touchdowns, and also had an 84-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the first quarter.

Canton won its second game in a row after losing the previous three.

“That was a big win for us, we needed it just to stay in the playoff hunt. We’re 2-3 in division now and still need things to happen but we need to continue to play ball,” said Canton coach Calvin Bolton. “We had to come out and play our style of football to put them away. They had momentum there at the end and found a way to win.”