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WC ready to break out vs. Natchez

[9/21/01]Robert Morgan and James Denson have a combined 347 career wins. This year, they have a grand total of … one.

One of them will add a victory to his total tonight when Morgan and Warren Central face Denson and Natchez.

“He’s been a friend for a long time,” said Morgan, who is 144-60 in his 17th year as head coach. “But it’s not about me and him.

“I just want to see those red-hats stirred up.”

The Vikings (1-2) are ranked No. 15 by The Associated Press, but they are struggling offensively as they get ready for Natchez (0-2), which is struggling in all phases of the game.

WC already suffered two more losses earlier this week tailback Pat Minor and Deonte Selvy, one of the top players on a beleaguered offensive line.

Minor, the Vikings’ top tailback last season, is out for the year after undergoing knee surgery on Monday. Top receiver Kacy Jones broke his leg in practice before the second game and is also out for the year. Selvy will miss at least this game with a swollen knee.

That’s not the news Morgan wanted to hear, especially since his team has yet to rush for more than 72 yards while managing just 23 points in three games.

Still, Morgan is optimistic.

“We’re ready to break out,” he said Thursday, adding that the team had a real good week of practice. “We really do need to have a good game.”

Richmond Fields will start in place of Minor, Morgan said. Several tailbacks will get a chance, including sophomore Kenny Dean, who looked especially sharp in practice, Morgan said.

Morgan has been forced to dip into his defense to snag a couple of offensive linemen. Josh Brogdon and Ken Thompson will be among those who may have to play both ways.

Morgan said he changed the routine and scrimmaged every day this week.

“We needed to work on going full-speed,” he said.

“But we also worked hard on the little things … in the classroom, down to what we wear. We had a lot of individuals.

“Our new rule is: if we don’t issue it, you don’t wear it.”

On defense, a bend-but-don’t-break philosophy has helped WC hold opponents to an average of 9.7 points per game.

“Nothing good comes out of a butt-whuppin’ … but you can tell a lot about a team’s character by the way they react to adversity,” Morgan said.

Natchez has scored just one touchdown in two games and has given up an average of nearly 34 points per game, but Morgan said the Bulldogs look talented on film.

“If we don’t get up early and they get their heads up, they’ve got enough athletes to give us problems,” he said.

Denson and Morgan coached together in the Mississippi/Alabama All-Star Classic, but they have never coached against each other.

“It’s going to be fun,” said Denson, who was 213-111-4 in 30 years at 3A South Delta and Rolling Fork before leaving for Natchez this year. “We’re still getting our feet wet in 5A.”

The Bulldogs fell to Vicksburg last week, 39-0. Denson said he watched WC on film, but hasn’t paid much attention to it.

His focus at this point is on trying to rebuild his team. His players aren’t advanced enough to install new schemes for different opponents, he said.

“Everything we do has to be real basic,” he said. “We’re still not fundamentally sound.”

As for the differences in WC and VHS, Denson said, “It seems as if Warren Central has difficulty scoring, whereas Vicksburg has very little trouble scoring.

“They use their speed. Warren Central is very methodical.”