WC run game gets a test from Gulfport’s air attack

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 29, 2003

[8/29/03]Warren Central coach Robert Morgan and his counterpart at Gulfport, Joey D’Angelo, sound a lot alike as they talk about tonight’s season-opening Red Carpet Bowl matchup.

Morgan is worried about No. 20 Gulfport’s pass-happy offense going up against a pass defense that was suspect last season, and has eight new starters to boot.

D’Angelo is worried about his team’s defense, which will have at least 10 new starters on the field against the 19th-ranked Vikings.

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Is it just two old coaches poor-mouthing their teams? Or will the game turn into a high-scoring shootout where the last team to score wins? Everyone will find out when they tee it up tonight in the second half of the RCB at Warren Central.

“We’ve got to score some points,” Morgan said. “We’d love to shut them out, but realistically speaking, they score a lot of points.”

D’Angelo wasn’t sure if the game would be a scoring carnival, but didn’t rule it out.

“I hope it’s not that high, but you never know,” he said.

The focus for the Vikings will be on their secondary. Junior cornerback Otis Stamps and senior safety Jason Williams are returning veterans, but the other defensive backs Chico Hunter, Mitchell Lewis and Donald Neal are first-year starters.

Gulfport’s spread offense will put plenty of pressure on the young secondary and give them a tough early test. The Admirals have three new receivers, but also three solid QBs.

Shabazz McClellan and Adam Carlson each threw for more than 1,000 yards last season, and newcomer Greg Anderson is a good scrambler and passer.

“We know it’s going to be a long night, so we’re going to go out there heads-up from the beginning,” Williams said. “I’m glad we have a team that’s a tough team, to let this secondary know where we stand.”

WC has run plenty of 7-on-7 passing drills this summer to prepare for Gulfport, Morgan said. And win or lose, he added that the opener will help the Vikings later in the season.

“They’re like three other teams we’re going to see this year, so it helps to see them now,” Morgan said. “Grenada, Greenville, Murrah, even Vicksburg, they all like to throw the ball.”

WC has eight new starters on offense, including a new backfield.

Receiver Amos Chase, who caught 16 passes for 307 yards and two TDs last year, is the only returning starter at the skill positions.

“We have not been real sharp offensively, but time will tell if we have the right people on offense,” Morgan said.