Gators rally to beat Natchez in double overtime

Published 12:43 am Saturday, September 9, 2023

The Vicksburg Gators still have a lot to work on, but Friday night’s result should give them some encouragement about the process.

Cedrick Blackmore scored on a 10-yard run in the second overtime, and the Gators’ defense recovered a fumble on the ensuing possession to secure a wild 38-32 victory over Natchez.

Vicksburg (2-1) rallied from a 12-point deficit in the second half to force overtime, before bowing up to win it.

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“It was a perfect game for the kids to realize that they had to show their resiliency. We played a like a football team in the second half,” Vicksburg coach Christopher Lacey said.

Ronnie Alexander threw five touchdown passes — four to Tyler Henderson, and another to DeCorey Knight Jr. in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 26 with about 5 1/2 minutes remaining.

Henderson became only the fifth player in Warren County history to catch at least four touchdown passes in one game.

“We’ve got playmakers all over the field, and it’s hard for them to understand that sometimes it might be your night and sometimes it might not be. You have to be ready when it is,” Lacey said. “The first game he didn’t touch a ball and tonight he’s all over the field.”

Henderson’s third touchdown cut Natchez’s 26-14 lead to six points, and then Knight’s TD run tied it.

Natchez scored on its first possession in overtime, on a short run, and then Henderson caught a 10-yard TD pass on Vicksburg’s first play to tie it again at 32. Each team missed its two-point conversion try, so the game went to a second OT.

Vicksburg got the ball first and Blackmore ran it in on the first play to put the Gators ahead 38-32. Natchez fumbled on the second play of its possession and the Gators recovered to end the game.

“We didn’t give them enough of him down there. Blackmore is a hard runner. I appreciate the way he played,” Lacey said.

With the victory, Vicksburg improved to 2-1 through three games for the first time since 2016. Up next is a road trip to Terry that figures to be at least as difficult as the one they persevered through on Friday.

“It helps us a lot, but we’ve got to go back to the drawing board as coaches. We should’ve played a little better,” Lacey said. “It’ll be interesting to see how they respond.”