Vikings set to charge into Grenada

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 31, 2003

Warren Central coach Robert Morgan talks to his players following the Vikings’ 14-7 loss to Clinton last Friday in a Region 2-5A game. WC will travel to Grenada tonight to play No. 9 Grenada. With a win, the Vikings will improve their seeding for the state playoffs. (Jenny SevcikThe Vicksburg Post)

[10/31/03] Last week’s loss to Clinton was tough for the Warren Central Vikings to take, but it didn’t dash their Region 2-5A title hopes.

A loss tonight against Grenada would be a different story.

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WC takes to the road to face the Chargers (8-1, 4-1 Region 2-5A) in a big game for both teams. The winner is still in the hunt for the region championship, while the loser can finish no better than third place.

“When you get into your division games, they’re really playoff games,” WC coach Robert Morgan said, pointing out that finishing third or fourth in the region means a first-round game against a top-10 team. “The other third or fourth teams are probably going to be teams like Southaven, West Point or Columbus. Those are pretty good teams.”

Both Grenada and WC (6-3, 4-1) have already clinched playoff berths. The Chargers need Vicksburg to lose its last two games to have any shot at the region title, while the Vikings can claim the championship simply by winning their last two.

Since their last two opponents are neck-and-neck with WC, Morgan said the loss to Clinton wasn’t a bad one to take.

“The game against Clinton didn’t hurt us, because we still would have had to win the last two games anyway,” Morgan said. “It was a good place to have a loss.”

Grenada will do everything it can to hand the Vikings another one.

The Chargers boast a stingy defense that is giving up less than 14 points per game and a solid offense led by senior quarterback Jeremy Watson.

Watson is the focal point of the Chargers’ attack, with 540 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns on the ground and another 1,300 yards and 10 TDs through the air.

“He’s had a pretty decent year. I just hope he can keep having one,” Grenada coach John McCrory said. “We’re probably quarterback-oriented on offense. We seem to do better when he plays good.”

Keeping the ball away out of Watson’s hands will be a priority for WC, and they’ll turn to the running game to do it.

Larry Warner has rushed for nearly 600 yards since taking over as the starting tailback three weeks ago, and has given the Viking offense a much-needed big-play threat.

“You just hope you can tackle him. He runs hard, he hits the hole hard, and he has good vision,” McCrory said. “I’ve seen him, and you think you’ve got him and then he breaks loose for 40 or 50 yards.”

With both teams pretty evenly matched, it figures to be a close game something Grenada is used to by now.

The Chargers have played four games decided by seven points or less, going 3-1. Three of the four games have been decided by three points or less. WC, meanwhile, is 0-2 in games decided by a touchdown or less.

Although tonight’s contest is shaping up to be another close call, Morgan was confident about the Vikings’ chances.

“Ain’t no horse that can’t be rode and no cowboy can’t be throwed,” Morgan said. “We’re going up there to play Viking football, and I have a good feeling about it.”