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Holmes pulls away to beat Vicksburg

Vicksburg High was looking for an upset victory, a bit of positive momentum, and perhaps a more favorable matchup in the first round of the MHSAA Class 5A playoffs when it took on Holmes County Central on Friday.

It got a little bit of the momentum, but not a whole lot else.

Khamauri Rogers caught two touchdown passes, and Holmes County Central scored twice in the fourth quarter to pull away and hand the Gators a 26-7 loss in the regular-season finale Friday night.

“They played with a little more effort and fight than we did in the second half,” Vicksburg head coach Todd McDaniel said. “We mostly shot ourselves in the foot, and when momentum got on their side they didn’t let it go.”

Despite the loss, Vicksburg (4-6, 3-4 Region 2-5A) has advanced to the playoffs for the first time since 2017. It earned the No. 4 seed in Region 2-5A and will go on the road in the first round next week to face Region 1-5A champion Grenada.

“We’re extremely happy to go into the playoffs,” said McDaniel, who is in his first season as the Gators’ head coach.

McDaniel wasn’t as happy with a few other things that did not go the Gators’ way against Holmes County Central (8-2, 6-1). A number of penalties interrupted their offensive flow, and the Jaguars hit several big passing plays to either score or set up touchdowns.

Rogers caught a 27-yard TD pass in the first half. A 25-yard pass to Cory Ellington set up Jerell Boyd’s 1-yard run to give Holmes a 12-7 lead at halftime, and then Rogers caught a 25-yard TD pass on the first play of the fourth quarter.

Ellington scored on a 1-yard run later in the fourth quarter to finish out the scoring.
Vicksburg’s only touchdown came on a 1-yard run by quarterback Ronnie Alexander in the first quarter.

“It got away from us. We missed some opportunities in the first half. The second half, we didn’t play as well as we would have liked,” McDaniel said.