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‘Greatest’ semifinals coming down to the wire

With two days left in the semifinals of The Vicksburg Post’s Greatest on the Gridiron tournament, one matchup is turning into a blowout while another appears destined to come down to the wire.

The 1970 Temple Buccaneers, who had an average margin of victory of 44 points during their undefeated season, were cruising toward another blowout in this virtual tournament. In voting by the readers of The Vicksburg Post, Temple led the 1981 St. Aloysius Flashes by more than 100 votes late Tuesday afternoon.

The ’81 Flashes have already knocked off one Temple team in this tournament — a first-round upset of the 1969 Buccaneers — and have been its Cinderella after reaching the Final Four as a No. 7 seed. They’ll need to rally some support late to make up ground and beat a Temple team that was rarely challenged on the field 50 years ago or in this bracket.

(1) 1970 Temple vs. (7) 1981 St. Aloysius

  • 1970 Temple (79%, 279 Votes)
  • 1981 St. Aloysius (21%, 76 Votes)

Total Voters: 355

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In the other semifinal, meanwhile, the 1990 Vicksburg Gators and 2001 Vicksburg Gators had a lot of similarities on paper and their Greatest on the Gridiron matchup is playing out the same way.

The ’01 Gators rallied from a small deficit Tuesday to take a modest lead in a game that has gone back-and-forth since voting opened on Saturday, and might do so again before it ends on Thursday.

On the field, both teams won 10 games and reached the MHSAA Class 5A semifinals, where they lost close games. Both had strong, balanced offenses featuring multiple running backs, along with outstanding defenses.

The 1990 Gators, which featured the “Swamp Thing” defense, started off 5-0 and then slipped to a No. 12 ranking in the state after losing two of three games in the middle of the season. They still won the Region 2-5A championship and beat top-ranked Starkville in the playoffs.

(3) 2001 Vicksburg vs. (2) 1990 Vicksburg

  • 1990 Vicksburg (52%, 256 Votes)
  • 2001 Vicksburg (48%, 238 Votes)

Total Voters: 494

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The 2001 Gators, meanwhile, won four in a row late in the season, lost to Warren Central in the regular-season finale, and then beat Columbus and Region 2-5A champion Madison Central in the playoffs.

Voting on both semifinals will remain open until noon on Thursday at vicksburgpost.com. Brackets can also be dropped off at our office at 1106 Washington St. by noon on Thursday.

The championship game will begin this weekend to crown the best high school football team in Warren County history. More than 4,500 votes have been cast so far in the tournament, and some games have been decided by a single vote. Your vote will determine the best ever, so vote now!

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 sports reporters in the paper's 137-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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