Gators roll past Holmes County Central to finish undefeated in Region 2-5A

Published 12:09 am Friday, November 4, 2022

Vicksburg High finished its best regular season in more than 30 years with another romp in The Swamp.

Malik Montgomery scored three rushing touchdowns, Johnny Smith and DeCorey Knight had one each, and the Gators headed into the postseason with a 32-16 victory over Holmes County Central on Thursday.

Vicksburg (8-2, 8-0 MHSAA Region 2-5A) had already clinched its first region championship since 1990. It followed that up with its first undefeated season in region play, also since 1990.

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Thursday’s victory was also the 600th in the program’s history, which spans more than a century and five schools.

“It was big for us to finish the regular season with a win. It was great to go out and take that momentum into the playoffs,” Vicksburg coach Todd McDaniel said. “The 600th win is icing on the cake, and for us to finish the regular season undefeated in the district means a lot.”

The Gators will host Cleveland Central (5-6) in the first round of the MHSAA Class 5A playoffs next week, and could wind up hosting all three games on the road to the state championship game if they make it that far.
Vicksburg beat Cleveland Central 25-3 in the first round last season.

Holmes County Central (6-4, 4-4) is the No. 4 seed in Region 2-5A and will travel to Region 1-5A champion West Point (8-2) for its first-round game.

“It’s what we envisioned, working hard to win that No. 1 seed. Unless there’s an upset I think everything has to travel through the Swamp,” McDaniel said.

The Gators ran the table in their region schedule and finished it off with the same kind of dominant performance they’ve been using all season.

The Gators did not allow a point until the game was well in hand in the second half — they led 26-0 at halftime — and gave up one touchdown late in the fourth quarter with mostly junior varsity players on the field.

Offensively, they used several big plays to set up short touchdowns. Ronnie Alexander threw a 69-yard pass to Smith and a 40-yarder to Tyler Henderson to set up 1-yard touchdown runs by Montgomery and Knight.

Montgomery also had a 35-yard touchdown run.

“I was just happy to see us go out there and play our butt off and not get anybody hurt,” McDaniel said. “We were able to rest two or three guys, so we’re going into the first round of the playoffs fairly healthy.”