WC defenders have to avoid being fooled by VHS’ fakes

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 2, 2000

Kelvin Martin, from left, Roderick Montgomery, Thad Henderson, Corey Nettle and Stewart Lott will see time on the defensive line for Warren Central. (The Vicksburg Post/ROB MAXWELL)

Warren Central has to go to Memorial Stadium for Friday night’s showdown with Vicksburg High.

But for the Vikings to win, their defensive linemen need to stay home.

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That’s what WC defensive coordinator Curtis Brewer has been stressing to his linemen in practice this week.

They can’t be fooled by the Gators’ myriad misdirection plays. If any one of them were to be fooled by a fake and overcommit one way, a speedy VHS back could easily slip past him on the other side for a big gain.

“Stay at home,” Thad Henderson, Corey Nettle, Stewart Lott, Kelvin Martin and Roderick Montgomery answered in unison when asked about their instructions against VHS.

Holding their position may be easier said than done, considering that the starting VHS offensive line tips the scales at 1,499 pounds, minus the tight ends, while WC’s top five weigh “only” 1,180 collectively.

“I like the challenge,” said Nettle, a 6-foot-2, 260-pound tackle who will match up with 6-2, 347-pound guard Junior Nix. “I feel like they’re not quick enough for us.”

Few teams have been successful running against the Vikings, who are yielding just 103.8 rushing yards per game. The guys up front are most responsible for that, especially Henderson (6-2, 280) and Nettle. The senior tackles have combined for 164 stops on the year.

“Corey and Thad are as good of defensive linemen as there are in Mississippi,” WC coach Robert Morgan said.

When opponents try to run around the veteran interior linemen, that’s where the speedy young ends come in.

“They don’t pull as much as a lot of teams we’ve seen,” said Martin (6-3, 220), a sophomore end who has 52 tackles. “We really have to watch for the speed sweep.”

Martin, who missed last week with a shoulder injury to make way for fellow sophomore Montgomery (6-4, 220), said the pressure is on his team.

“They’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain,” he said.

The Vikings, who clinched their 16th straight playoff berth with last week’s win at Murrah, are trying for their 10th straight win in the series, their 18th in the last 19 meetings. VHS has to beat WC in the traditional regular-season finale to assure itself of a playoff berth.

Looking at that past record does put pressure on the Vikings, said Lott (6-3, 210; 53 tackles), a junior.

“We don’t want to be the ones to lose,” he said. “We just have to play it like any other game.”

That’s easier said than done.

“I’m having to keep them settled down so they can study film,” Morgan said. “Come Friday night, we just have to let them out of the pen. The emotion just builds all week.”

As for the size differential, Morgan isn’t concerned.

“I think we can handle it,” he said. “What we lack in size, we make up for with heart.”

Henderson, who will line up across from 6-4, 350-pound Andre Bennett, isn’t worried either.

“We’re already in the playoffs, and they’re trying to get into the playoffs, so the pressure is on them,” he said. “We don’t have to get motivated.”