Vikings’ defense buries Rebels

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 30, 2003

{9/27/03]JACKSON Warren Central’s defense delivered its most convincing performance of the season in a 48-0 shutout of Region 2-5A rival Forest Hill on Friday night.

A week removed from shutting out Natchez 14-0, Warren Central posted an even more one-sided victory in a more important game the regional opener.

The Vikings (3-2, 1-0) made big hits all night long and held the Rebels (3-2, 0-1) to a total of 81 yards of offense, caused two turnovers and recorded four sacks.

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“I thought we got after them early,” WC coach Robert Morgan said. “The first five minutes of the first half and the second half were important. We took control.”

The Wrecking Crew, Warren Central’s defensive nickname, was especially dominant in the second half, holding Forest Hill to minus-15 yards.

“We knocked them around, got them tired and took advantage of that,” Morgan said.

Forest Hill never crossed the 50-yard line in the second half.

“We played a real hard game, focused and did what coach told us to do all week,” said Viking defense back Donald Neal, who intercepted a pass in the end zone. “We were hitting hard, every play, 100 percent.”

Forest Hill quarterback Tommy Burrell, who saw pressure up front all night long, said the problem was on his side of the ball.

“We just didn’t execute, that was it,” Burrell said. “If we would have executed more, we would have been in the game and would have had more confidence.”

Forest Hill stayed close in the first half.

The Viking defense forced a three-and-out on Forest Hill’s first drive, but the Rebels tried a fake punt from their own 22 and failed.

Warren Central took over and scored five plays later on a 1-yard Jesse Pedyfoot run.

Forest Hill punted after another three-and-out series, and the Vikings drove 69 yards to score on a 1-yard Michael Horton dive for a 13-0 lead with 3 minutes, 3 seconds left in the first quarter.

Early in the second, Forest Hill began at its own 44 and slowly and methodically marched down to the Warren Central 1-yard line, taking nine minutes off the clock.

But on third-and-goal from the 1, Neal intercepted a pass in the end zone to preserve the 13-0 lead.

“That was a big play,” Neal said. “It changed the momentum at the half. It made us come out in the second half fired up.”

The Vikings came out in the third quarter and pushed the Rebels around at will.

On Forest Hill’s first drive, WC forced another three-and-out. Pedyfoot then broke through the line and blocked the punt at the Forest Hill 10.

Christian Hales then connected with Amos Chase on a 7-yard touchdown for a 20-0 lead.

Warren Central added two more scores in the third and increased the lead to 34-0 before both sides played their junior varsity players in the final quarter.