Vikings continue dominance over VHS

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 6, 2000

John Hicks of Warren Central celebrates after his third-quarter touchdown, a 5-yarder that gave the Vikings a 27-7 lead. (The Vicksburg Post/PAT SHANNAHAN)

Warren Central’s dominance in the Warren County Super Bowl continued with an overpowering defensive effort and a bruising running game.

The Vikings (9-2, 5-2 Region 2-5A) scored 23 unanswered points, held the Gators to 100 yards in the second half and took advantage of four Vicksburg turnovers to down the Gators, 30-7, for the 19th win in the 20-year-old series.

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“We had everything going for us, but you can’t make those kinds of mistakes,” Vicksburg coach James Knox said. “We just plain gave it to them in the first half.”

The Gators (7-4, 2-4) generated little offense against a WC defense that got stronger as the game went on. Vicksburg speedster J.J. Brown, who had 78 yards rushing in the first half and the only Vicksburg touchdown, was shut down in the second, rushing for a paltry 16 yards.

“They moved the safety down in the gap we were running in,” Brown said. “Coach (Robert) Morgan just knew what to do and where to put the defense.”

WC linebackers Tyler DeRossette and Robert Kapp led a spirited Vikings’ defense with 14 tackles each, while Pat Minor, who was moved to safety after starting the season at tailback, had 11. Kapp also recovered a pair of fumbles and Chris Hemphill recovered one.

“Our defense is gettin’ good, ain’t they?” said Morgan, whose team will travel to South Panola on Friday for the opening round of the playoffs. “They give a little ground, but when they hit you hear it.”

The defense held the Gators in check after a productive opening quarter, and the Vikings’ offense did plenty to back up the defense.

Fullback John Hicks scored a pair of touchdowns on runs of 1 and 5 yards and quarterback Brett Morgan connected with Kacy Jones on an 18-yard touchdown.

“We just pounded the football and played Viking football,” said Brett Morgan, who threw for 64 of the Vikings’ 323 yards.

Hicks led all rushers with 138 yards on 16 carries, while Omar Jackson had 52 yards on nine carries in a relief role.

The Gators opened the game on one of Brown’s two long kickoff returns, but two plays later, Vicksburg committed the first of its four turnovers.

The Gators’ defense held WC and again marched down the field, only to fumble on WC’s 36-yard line.

“We stressed all week if we didn’t turn the ball over, we had a chance to win the football game,” Brett Morgan said. “We didn’t turn it over and that’s what it boiled down to.”

WC, after two long Hicks runs, scored on a 1-yard TD by Hicks. Todd Monsour, who booted three PATs and field goals of 35 and 27 yards, added his first point for a 7-0 lead with 2:38 left in the quarter.

But Brown, who ended with 242 all-purpose yards, returned the kick 56 yards and set up the Gators’ lone touchdown, his 17-yard scamper. Victor Parker’s kick knotted the game at 7.

“They moved the ball pretty good and that wingback (Brown) is hard to watch because he is always going into motion,” said DeRossette, who had a 52-yard interception return for a touchdown called back because of a clip late in the second quarter. “Our defense started moving around to help mess them up.”

Monsour kicked his first field goal for a 10-7 WC lead with 2:11 left in the half and the third Vicksburg fumble on the WC 19 led to Brett Morgan’s TD pass to Jones for a 17-7 lead.

DeRossette’s interception with 14 seconds to play in the half did not result in any WC points.

“We came out hyped in the second half, but we wore down,” Vicksburg linebacker Steven Caldwell said. “I guess we didn’t have the stamina.”

Two field goals sandwiched Hicks’ third touchdown a 5-yarder in the second half for all of WC’s scoring. Hunt Gilliland kicked the last one, a 23-yarder.

Vicksburg reserve quarterback Justin Henry, a sophomore, came into the game in the fourth quarter and completed 9 of 11 passes for 98 yards from the Gators’ no-huddle offense.

“All those turnovers. They just messed us up big time, especially on that first series,” VHS senior running back Terry Cooper said. “We can’t make those kinds of mistakes and not capitalize.”

For the Vikings, Friday night’s game was just another notch on a series that has been lopsided from the first time the teams met. The Gators won their lone game, 10-9, in 1990.

But the Vikings aren’t taking their dominance for granted.

“This win was awesome,” DeRossette said. “We beat them 23 points, are going to the playoffs and we’ll see what happens next.”

For the Gators, the game was just another disappointing chapter.

“I’m gonna try to forget this one quickly,” Brown said. “But I know I’m gonna hear about this one at school on Monday.”