Warren Central look to break Jaguars’ domination

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 4, 2000

Warren Central and Madison Central have similar styles, which is to say there isn’t much style involved. Both have been successful over the years with grinding, 3-yards-and-a-mouthful-of-blood offenses and swarming, tough-as-nickel-steak defenses.

That means Friday night’s Region 2-5A showdown in Madison will probably come down to which team hits harder, longer, without making blunders.

“It’s going to be good, hard-nosed football,” said MC coach Mike Justice, whose No. 4 Jaguars (5-1, 2-0 in 2-5A) have never lost a regional game at home. “Whoever makes mistakes will probably get beat.”

That has been the Vikings the last five years.

No team has man-handled WC like the Jaguars.

“They’ve pretty much dominated the division since they came in,” WC coach Robert Morgan said. “We used to do that, but they wrestled it away from us.”

Warren Central won the first meeting, 28-0, in 1992, but the Jaguars have won all five meetings since they joined the Vikings’ region in 1995.

This is the first time the No. 9 Vikings (6-0, 2-0) have gone into the game undefeated, the first time the Jaguars haven’t.

“I would love for them to be undefeated,” said Morgan, whose goal since the beginning of the season was to be 6-0 going into this game. “I think that would make them easier to beat.”

Brandon bested the Jaguars in the fourth week of the season, 35-25.

Still, defending state champion MC is averaging almost 40 points per game while allowing only 12. WC is scoring just under 30 per game and giving up 10.

“Madison Central has a lot more kids, but that doesn’t mean they have more kids that can play,” said Callaway coach Gerry Anderson, who lost to WC 35-0 last week and MC 45-7 the week before. “I’d take Warren Central’s first 30 over Madison Central’s first 30.”

Anderson gives the Jaguars’ run defense the edge and WC’s pass defense the advantage.

“Offensively, I like Warren Central a lot better,” he said. “They get more out of the fullback dive than any team I’ve ever seen.”

His prediction: “I think Warren Central will win. They won’t be intimidated. They think they can win.”

Morgan said he’s feeling confident going into the game.

“I think we’ve got a better chance because we’re better and they’re not quite as versatile as they have been,” Morgan said.

Both teams rely on the running game. The main difference is that the Jaguars have one back, Bobo Brown, who gets most of the carries. WC, on the other hand, rotates three or four tailbacks to find who has the hot hand. The mainstay has been fullback John Hicks, but he has only 353 yards on 57 carries. Pat Minor leads WC’s tailbacks with 423 yards and six touchdowns on 49 carries, but Omar Jackson, Leonard Harris and Perry McGee also get their share of reps.

The reason Anderson thinks WC will win is because of quarterback Brett Morgan, who passes just enough to keep opposing defenses honest. He is 30-of-58 for 396 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions.

“Morgan gives more to Warren Central’s offense than (Bo) Bradberry gives to Madison Central’s,” Anderson said, comparing the quarterbacks.

Justice said WC’s defense “is a lot better than it’s been.”

He said those matchups are relatively even, so “the kicking game is real important.”

If that’s the case, Morgan feels a little better equipped with this year’s Vikings. Special teams were a thorn in his side last season. This year, the kicking game is a strength.

The winner will have the upper hand in the regional race, where the top two teams get home-field advantage in the playoffs.

“Everyone knows, if you’re going to win the division, you have to whip Madison Central,” Morgan said.

But, as Justice pointed out, “neither of us has played Clinton yet.”