Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 29, 2000

taking on Cathedral varsity Thursday

Warren Central will kick off this week with a twist Thursday night, as the junior varsity Vikings will play Natchez Cathedral’s varsity.

The game became reality after Cathedral coaches tried all summer to get a fill-in game for an originally scheduled matchup with Wisner, La.

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Wisner canceled its football program, leaving the Class 2A Cathedral with only eight games.

“Our guys are just excited and ready to play football,” said Cathedral coach Ken Beesley, whose team did not play Friday, the opening night for most public schools. “Our guys, I’m sure, are tired of just practicing. It’s going to be tough, and I hope we’re competitive.”

Coaches at both schools said they would count the game in their records.

“This is a good opportunity for us,” WC coach Richard Smithhart said. “They are traditionally a good football team.”

This will not be the first time a junior varsity team at Warren Central has tackled a varsity squad. WC head coach Robert Morgan said, when he was a ninth-grade coach with current St. Aloysius coach Jim Taylor, his team did well against Utica.

Utica, which went on that year to win the Capital Athletic Conference

championship, suffered just one loss all that year to Morgan’s junior Vikings.

Beesley doesn’t expect any less when his Green Wave play 5A WC.

“They may be the best team we’ll play all year,” said Beesley, who had a 6-4 record last year and returns eight seniors and seven juniors. “This will be a good test for us to see how we’ll do. We just hope to be competitive.”

Senior fullback Keith Smith and sophomore tailback JaMel Jackson, who started last year as a freshman, lead Cathedral.

Warren Central will counter with an impressive offense, led by quarterback Jeremy Ferguson and running backs Andrew Patton, Richmond Fields and Kevin Watts and wide receiver Larry King.

“This is a great chance to play a good team and get better from that,” King said.

Smithhart sees it as a chance, not only for a way to gain experience, but to let fans see the future of the Vikings.

“People will get to see some young talent that will replace the graduating players,” Smithhart said. “This is the future of the Vikings.”

He sees this as a chance to learn.

“They return eight seniors and seven juniors,” he said with a chuckle. “We have no seniors and just a couple of juniors.”