Gators stumble out of the gate with loss to Holmes County Central

Published 12:44 am Saturday, August 26, 2023

Vicksburg High had an outstanding season in 2022, but this one is off to a bad start.

Holmes County Central rolled into Memorial Stadium and handed the Gators a 25-0 loss in the season-opening Red Carpet Bowl on Friday night.

Vicksburg reached the MHSAA Class 5A semifinals last season, but continued a downward trend in season openers. This was its sixth consecutive loss in Week 1, and it has not won in the Red Carpet Bowl since 2016.

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“This ain’t last year’s team, so you can’t live on past success. You’ve got to continue to get better,” first-year Vicksburg head coach Christopher Lacey said. “We can’t keep living on last year. We’ve got to get together in the fieldhouse, come together as a team and fix the football stuff.”

The “football stuff” on Friday included one lost fumble, several drives that ended on downs, and an overall lack of offensive punch. Holmes County Central creeped out to a 12-0 lead at halftime, and then put the game away with one touchdown each in the third and fourth quarters.

“It’s football stuff — missed tackles, mental errors, missed blocks, stuff like that,” Lacey said. “I think we missed more tackles tonight than I’ve ever missed at Vicksburg.”

Although he was understandably upset at the loss, Lacey wasn’t discouraged. The mistakes and tone of the night, he said, are things that can be fixed with a good week of practice and a victory or two.

The Gators’ next three opponents all had losing records in 2022. Next week’s foe, Forest Hill, finished 1-10.

“It’s just come to practice Monday, and being motivated and being able to fix our issues,” Lacey said. “It wasn’t a ‘We’re out of shape’ thing, it wasn’t a talent thing, it wasn’t a schematic thing. It’s just a football thing.”