Murrah no cakewalk for Vikings

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 26, 2000

Before last week, Warren Central’s upcoming game with Murrah looked like a soft spot in the schedule, a good tune-up for next week’s clash with Vicksburg and then the playoffs.

That was before Murrah (3-6, 0-5 Region 2-5A) took No. 4 Madison Central to the limit on the Jaguars’ home field. Using a no-huddle offense, the Mustangs rallied from a 24-7 deficit before falling 39-35.

Friday night, they host the Vikings (7-2, 3-2) at Newell Field in Jackson. An upset could throw WC back into the pack of teams scrambling for the final two playoff berths in Region 2-5A.

A win would clinch a playoff berth for WC, but head coach Robert Morgan knows it won’t be as easy as it first appeared.

“I know this fact. The No. 3 or No. 4 team in Mississippi almost lost to them, which shows you their capability,” Morgan said. “This game is a big challenge for our seniors as far as getting our team ready to play. This is a very big game. It doesn’t have the magnitude of a Clinton or a Madison, but as far as playoff ramifications, it does.”

To avoid the fate that nearly befell Madison Central, Morgan said the Vikings must do two things avoid turnovers and establish the run, something they didn’t do in last week’s 24-7 loss to No. 1 Clinton. WC fell behind early in that game and was forced to pass to play catch-up.

WC has been effective running the ball this season, accumulating nearly 2,000 yards, but Morgan said he’s still waiting for one back to emerge as the workhorse.

The Vikings’ leading rusher, fullback John Hicks, has 612 yards, while four tailbacks have each rushed for more than 200 yards and combined for 1,143 yards and 13 touchdowns.

“We’ve got to establish our run,” Morgan said. “I get a little frustrated at times because I don’t have a back that’ll go on and step up and be the tailback. One of these days one of them will step up and he will be the man, and we’ll go from there.”

While the Vikings will be committed to running the football, the Mustangs use a bunch of different looks on offense. Morgan said Murrah hardly uses the same formation twice, something that could prove difficult for his defense to deal with.

“The biggest thing they do, is they have not been in the same offense or the same defense in any film we’ve seen. Now you can look at it two ways. It may be good for us, or it may be bad for us,” Morgan said. “If they can go into a bunch of different formations and execute, that’s bad for us. But what usually happens is they wind up in a bunch of formations and they don’t execute well in any of them.”