Vikings eye undefeated Forest Hill for region opener

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 27, 2001

[9/27/01]”Not for sale” signs adorn the Warren Central fieldhouse. It’s the coaches’ way of telling the team that Viking Pride is not something that can be bought, but it’s valuable.

The first real sign of that pride came Friday night in the second half of a convincing 31-0 win over lowly Natchez. Coach Robert Morgan hopes to carry that over to the opening of the second season against undefeated Forest Hill (4-0).

Kickoff for the Region 2-5A opener for both teams will be at 7:30 in Jackson.

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“I think our Vikings will be ready to play,” said Morgan, whose team enters the game 2-2. “I like our fight and the way we battle. … We’ve made some progress, but we still have a ways to go.”

Warren Central had its best offensive performance of the season in the shutout of Natchez, gaining 311 yards on the ground, most in a 25-point second half.

But for the second week in a row, the Vikings will be platooning running backs into the game, looking for one to lay claim to the starting spot. Pat Minor, WC’s leading rusher last year, is out for the year after undergoing knee surgery last week.

Richmond Fields is slated to start at tailback, Morgan said, with sophomore Kenny Dean, Henry Williams and Andrew Patton expected to see time. Patton is also the team’s leading tackler.

“We’re looking for a hoss … someone that steps up there and is doing so good, you don’t want to take him out,” Morgan said. “I’d like to see someone step up so we could leave them in there.”

There is little doubt the Vikings’ defense will see plenty of ground action. The Rebels boast a massive offensive line, which outweighs WC’s defense by about 30 pounds per man, and three talented runners.

Tailback Ricky Helom leads the team with 600 yards, while fullback Walter Belvins has gained about 400 and quarterback Titus Williams has run for about 200, Morgan said.

Helom has scored five touchdowns second in the region.

“It would be horribly nice if we could get them to pass,” Morgan said. “Nobody’s done it yet. Our defense has got its work cut out for them.”

Forest Hill coach Bill Giles said his team is approaching this game “like any other,” and that the key to beating the Vikings is, “to put more points on the board.”

“I’m not a philosopher,” Giles said.

“I don’t philosophize. If you want that, call someone else. I’ve been in this game 22 years and been playing since I was 9. I’m an offensive line, in-the-trenches hard-nosed football coach.”

The Rebels finished 1999 with a 1-9 record, but started this season with wins over Wingfield, Lanier, Hazlehurst and Jim Hill.