Gators finish non-region schedule with homecoming game vs. Yazoo City

Published 3:30 pm Thursday, September 21, 2023

The Vicksburg Gators have posted back-to-back come-from-behind wins in which they’ve score the winning touchdown in the final minute of regulation or overtime.

It’s been exciting, but head coach Christopher Lacey could do with a little less excitement.

Lacey said he wouldn’t mind better starts from his team that eliminate the need to rally in the first place.

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“A lot of the kids wait on somebody else to spark their punch to be able to play the game, and you can do that yourself. It shouldn’t take us losing for that to happen. You should be intrinsically motivated from the jump to be able to go out there and carry out your assignment,” Lacey said. “That’s the challenge right now — getting them to understand you want to be dominant from the first quarter through the fourth, not third through fourth.”

The Gators (3-1), it appears, should have a chance to do that this Friday when they play Yazoo City (0-4) for homecoming. The Indians have lost 15 consecutive games and 18 of their last 19 dating back to the 2021 season.

Lacey cautioned that another slow start could put the Gators in another difficult situation they’d rather not be in.

“They play hard. They remind me of Natchez and Terry. They’re going to have these incredible athletes on the field and if you’re not doing the right stuff right, those incredible athletes will show you up,” Lacey said. “They’ll make plays. It’s our job to be in the right place and do what we’re supposed to do so we can win the football game.”

The Gators overcame a 12-point deficit in the second half to beat Natchez on Sept. 8, and climbed out of a 14-point hole in last week’s 26-20 victory over Terry.

Lacey said the back-to-back comebacks are an example of practice paying off.

“We practice like that. We’ll have scenarios where the offense is down 21 points and has to come back and win the game,” he said. “So they’ve been through that since May, on how to come back and win the football game. I think that’s why they’re so comfortable doing it, because that’s something we do every Wednesday.”

Although it hasn’t been easy, the Gators are more or less where they hoped to be approaching the halfway point of the season. They are guaranteed of having a winning non-region record for the first time since 2016, and an open date next week will offer a chance to rest before the Region 2-6A opener at Neshoba Central on Oct. 6.

Lacey gave his team a passing grade, with plenty of room to improve.

“I give it a C-plus, B-minus. We’ve improved since the first game, just from a collective team standpoint,” he said. “Every week we’re fixing mistakes and shoring up issues. Just getting better at the football stuff. It’s been exciting to watch the kids do that.”

All games start at 7 p.m.
Yazoo City at Vicksburg High (Radio: 107.7 FM)
Warren Central at Madison Central (Radio: 105.5 FM)
Tensas Academy at Porter’s Chapel (Radio: 104.5 FM)
St. Aloysius at Central Hinds (Radio: 101.3 FM)
Crystal Springs at Port Gibson
Tallulah Academy at Prairie View Academy
Briarfield at Sharkey-Issaquena Academy
Ferriday at Madison Parish

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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