Storms cut Gators’ spring game short

Published 9:36 pm Friday, May 12, 2023

Good weather and spring football are not on the best of terms right now at Vicksburg High.

For the second year in a row Vicksburg had its spring game cut short because of stormy weather. The Gators got in a little more than a quarter of work before lightning halted and then quickly canceled the action Friday night at Memorial Stadium.

“It sucks for the kids because I know they’re ready to compete and ready to come out there and tackle each other and do their thing,” Vicksburg coach Christopher Lacey said. “But you can’t argue with God. You’ve just got to go with what He says to do. If He says don’t play, then we ain’t going to play.”

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The Green and White spring game marked the debut of both Lacey as head coach and the first look at a defense that is replacing eight starters. Lacey is still easing into his first head coaching job, but his defense looked comfortable as ever.

The format of the scrimmage had the offense (White) starting on its own 20-yard line and trying to score against the defense (Green). In four series, the White only crossed midfield once and that was the result of a 52-yard run by Charles Brooks when the second team was facing each other.

Backup quarterback Mike Johnson finished that drive with a 13-yard touchdown run on the final play before the weather closed in. The scoring system for the scrimmage awarded the Green team three points for each defensive stop, so it wound up ahead 9-6 when the game was called with 8:58 left in the second quarter. The plan had been to play two 10-minute quarters followed by several red zone series.

Lacey said that, even with a revamped defensive lineup, it has enough returning players to be ahead of an offense that is being retooled.

“We played 30 people on defense last year. So most of those guys are guys who contributed last year,” Lacey said. “We’ve got a lot of new people on offense, we’re filling in some spots and we’re implementing a new offense. Our offense had a lot of mistakes just then so our defense was capitalizing on them.”

Although the defense seemed ahead of the offense at this point, there were some bright spots on offense — particularly among the second-team unit.

Johnson completed both of his passes, both to Deztin Minor, for 15 yards to go along with his rushing TD. Brooks had 73 yards on only four carries.

“That was really my focal point on the spring. Since we lost so many guys and didn’t really play a lot of guys on offense last year, I wanted to get my twos ready,” Lacey said. “Going into 6A you’re going to need that depth to be able to compete. I’m really pleased with how my twos competed, knowing they didn’t really play a lot last year.”

Among the first-teamers, quarterback Ronnie Alexander was 2-for-4 passing for 27 yards and had 19 rushing yards. Running back Malik Montgomery had four carries for zero yards, but did catch a 29-yard pass out of the backfield on a third-and-17 play.

Each offensive unit got two series of work. The first team ran 14 plays and the second team ran nine.

Although the first team only had two first downs during its two series, Lacey said he wasn’t too concerned. The offense is transitioning away from the Wing-T that was used by former head coach Todd McDaniel and only had a couple of weeks to work on the new scheme.

By the time the Gators play their jamboree in August, and then the season opener vs. Holmes County Central on Aug. 25, he expects them to be much sharper.

“Having two weeks to implement a new offense, it’s hard to think you’re just going to come out here and look sharp,” Lacey said. “We’re going to work on that this summer and hopefully we’ll come out here for the jamboree and get a better look.”

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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