Gators start Thursday road streak against Jim Hill – The Vicksburg Post

Gators start Thursday road streak against Jim Hill

Posted at 8:00 a.m. on Wednesday, September 21, 2022

It could be in a real folder hidden in a desk drawer somewhere in the country house. It could just be locked away in the brains of the coaching staff, ready to spring into action from muscle memory.

Either way or wherever, Vicksburg High is ready to bust Thursday’s plan again.

The Gators (2-2, 2-0 MHSAA Region 2-5A) have a short week as they prepare to face Jim Hill (0-3-1, 0-2) Thursday at 7:30 p.m. in Jackson. It’s the first of three Thursday night games in the last six of the regular season, but the 11th the Gators have played since 2019.

“We’ll do the same things we do on a normal Wednesday, and Thursday will just be game day instead of getting ready and getting all the gear together,” Vicksburg coach Todd McDaniel said. “We won’t be training as long on Wednesday in a short week. On Thursdays we normally go about an hour, but on Wednesdays on a short week we go about an hour and 45 to make sure we hit everything.

Vicksburg’s Thursday game streak over the past three seasons has largely been a function of playing in an area heavily populated by Jackson Public School District teams.

JPS has seven high school teams under its banner — four of which are in the 2-5A region with Vicksburg — but only two football fields to share. This created a delicate balance as both grounds normally host games on Thursday and Friday.

This week’s game will take place at North Jackson Field, located off Medgar Evers Boulevard and Interstate 220.

Vicksburg went through a similar situation in 2020, when its stadium was being renovated and played three Thursday night games at Warren Central and two more on the road.

Vicksburg also played three Thursday games in 2019, two last season and three this year. In addition to this week’s contest, the Gators will play Thursday home games against Callaway on October 6 and Holmes County Central on November 3.

Callaway’s game was scheduled for a Thursday night due to a conflict with the Vicksburg Warren School District’s fall vacation.

Holmes County Central’s game, which is the regular season finale, was placed Thursday by the MHSAA due to a statewide shortage of officials. All Class 5A and 6A teams will play on Thursday this week.

McDaniel said he likes to play Thursday. He thinks the Gators’ unorthodox patterns on offense and defense give them an edge on a short week, and that allows the coaching staff to come out and scout other opponents on Friday.

“It’s not new. They (Jim Hill) have been doing it for years so it’s definitely nothing new to them. They have to do it Thursday and Friday,” McDaniel said. “Where it really helps us is that on Friday we have the opportunity to go see someone else play and scout.”

Vicksburg enters its matchup with Jim Hill after back-to-back routs in its first two games in the 2-5A region. The Gators outscored Canton and Forest Hill 95-12.

Jim Hill thinks it’s another piece of cake. His last win was on October 18, 2019 – he played Port Gibson against a 12-12 draw earlier this season – and he has won a total of six games over the past 10 seasons.

McDaniel, however, said there are a lot of things he wants the Gators to take seriously, even though they’re a heavy favorite. He picked up 18 penalties in last week’s 54-8 win over Forest Hill, and averages 11 per game.

The Gators are in a soft part of the schedule. The top four opponents in the region, including Provine next week, all have records at 0.500 or less. The October slate is much more difficult, however, and straightening out bad habits is now essential.

“We have to keep working and be a little tougher with them in training. Better to believe that they know it too. They know you’re not going to get away with Ridgeland, or West Point or Lafayette,” McDaniel said. “It’s a different level of focus. Still, as a coach, it drives you crazy because no matter who you play against, you can’t have that.

THIS WEEK’S ZONE GAMES
Thursday September 22
Vicksburg at Jim Hill, 7:30 p.m. (Radio: 107.7 FM)
Friday September 23
Games from 7 p.m.
St. Aloysius at the Cathedral (Radio: 101.3 FM)
PCA at Wilkinson Christian (Radio: 104.5 FM)
Tallulah Academy at Prairie View
Deer Creek at Briarfield Academy
Centerville Academy at Central Hinds
Madison Parish in Ferriday
Games from 7:30 p.m.
Warren Central in Oak Grove (Radio: 105.5 FM)
Port Gibson to Crystal Springs
Clinton in Germantown

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