Morgans remember ’94 as WC preps for Clinton

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 18, 2000

Seven years ago, amidst an amazing run by Warren Central’s seemingly unstoppable juggernaut, the Vikings faced their only setback of the season en route to their second state championship.

WC, then undefeated and ranked No. 2 in the state, hosted Clinton and lost.

Brian Hazelwood, who went on to star at Mississippi State, kicked three field goals in the Arrows’ 16-7 win.

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“We were just trying to keep that boy outside the 50-yard line so he wouldn’t kick any field goals,” WC coach Robert Morgan recalled. “We had a great defense, but Hazelwood would just boom them in.”

WC’s quarterback that year, Rob Morgan, became Hazelwood’s holder at MSU. For four years, the younger Morgan had to endure playful reminders of that loss.

“That whole team would still like to play Clinton again; today, if they could,” Robert Morgan said.

Rob Morgan said although his team wasn’t ready to play, the loss was still a shock.

“I remember it like it was yesterday,” the Mississippi State graduate assistant coach said. “We hadn’t lost and were rolling along. We really weren’t ready to play and everyone took (Clinton) for granted.”

Clinton coach David Bradberry, who coached against the Vikings in the 1988 state championship when he was at Greenwood, said that his coaching staff remembers the 1994 game well.

“We talk about that game constantly,” said Bradberry, who is close friends with Morgan. Both were born in Sturgis. “I think, actually, that game got them going toward the state championship.”

Most of the current Vikings were in elementary or junior high school during the last state championship run, but now they have a unique opportunity to atone for what happened in 1994.

On Friday night, the No. 1 Arrows will play at Viking Stadium. The game will mark the first time in recent memory that a No. 1 team other than Warren Central will play in Viking Stadium.

Last season, Madison Central beat WC in a rainstorm and moved to No. 1 the next week on its way to the state championship, but came into the game with the state’s No. 2 ranking.

But now, the Arrows arrive with an 8-0 record and fresh off a 41-6 thumping of Vicksburg High.

“A lot of things look alike,” Bradberry said of the 1994 matchup and Friday’s game.

“I don’t know if the roles are switched. They have had a lot of success against us, much more than we’ve had against them over the years.”

Robert Morgan said he likes the fact that the Vikings will host the state’s biggest game of the weekend something that hasn’t happened in quite a long time.

“This Friday night in Mississippi, the big game will be here,” Morgan said. “That hasn’t happened since we were number one.”