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Ranking throws kink into Vikings’ approach

When Warren Central coach Robert Morgan heard about this week’s Associated Press poll, he knew he’d have to change his pregame speech.

He expected his Vikings (2-0) to be the underdogs and South Pike (1-1) to be the favorites.

But a funny thing happened on the way to tonight’s game at Viking Stadium. WC throttled Pearl, 30-14, to earn a spot in the Associated Press poll and South Pike, which was No. 11 going into its game with Mendenhall, got blasted, 52-28, and tumbled out of the poll.

“I have to change my approach now,” Morgan said with a laugh after learning that his team was No. 14.

The motivational technique will be all Morgan tweeks. The game plan will stay the same.

“We’ve got to run the ball better, and we have to try to throw more,” he said. “Our goal is to throw it about a third of the time.”

The WC defense, which hasn’t allowed a score in seven of the eight quarters this season, will have its biggest test so far, Morgan said.

“They have the best offensive line we’ve seen,” Morgan said. “That’s their strength.”

Cornelius Stallings (6 feet 3, 305 pounds) and Reginald Green (6-3, 290) anchor that line, which opens lanes for fullback John Lowery and scatback Corey Addison.

Stallings is being recruited by all of the Southeastern Conference schools, his coach said.

Morgan has challenged his defensive line, especially tackles Corey Nettle (No. 73) and Thad Henderson (72), to hold their own against Stallings.

“He’s good … ,” Morgan said of Stallings. “I told Corey that I want everyone to come there talking about 71 (Stallings) and to leave talking about 72 and 73.”

The Vikings are using six tailbacks as Morgan searches for a go-to guy. Pat Minor is the leading tailback, with just 76 yards and two scores in the first two games.

Junior fullback John Hicks has been WC’s steadiest ball carrier (24 carries, 133 yards, three touchdowns).

He and quarterback Brett Morgan have South Pike coach Clarence Morgan most concerned.

“We just hope to save the equipment,” said the South Pike coach, whose Eagles beat WC 35-14 and finished 9-2 last year. “Warren Central is better this year. They’re throwing well and they’ve got that big ole fullback.”

Clarence Morgan said he has a “new crew” in the secondary, so WC’s outside fades and option plays could cause him problems.

Jonathan Brumfield may not start at quarterback, he said. Jason Pittman, who is a better passer, may get the nod.

After getting two punts blocked last week, the South Pike coach is also worried about his team’s kicking game.

WC’s Morgan can relate. Short punts cost the Vikings 21 points in last year’s meeting.

“Our special teams are a lot better this year,” he said, adding with a chuckle, “They better be.”