Vikings level Forest Hill, 45-3

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 30, 2004

Warren Central’s Vic Tyrone (6) muscles through the tackle of Forest Hill’s Corey Griffith, right, in Friday’s 45-3 WC win. Helping Tyrone push forward are Chris Jackson (82) and Michael Robinson (22). (Meredith SpencerThe Vicksburg Post)

[9/25/04]Warren Central is taking care of its business.

Following a 63-6 win over lowly Natchez a week ago, the Vikings hammered Forest Hill 45-3 in Friday’s Region 2-5A opener.

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Much like a week ago, the win came with a strong all-around performance by the Vikings.

Larry Warner led the Vikings on offense with 152 yards on 10 carries with one rushing touchdown (70). He also had a punt return for a score.

Warren Central (4-1, 1-0) gained 326 yards on the ground, while the defense put forth an impressive effort to hold the Rebels (2-3, 0-1) to 35 yards of total offense. WC forced five fumbles and recovered four.

“The offense stayed composed, and they put us in a position like we wanted to be,” WC coach Curtis Brewer said. “We didn’t want to stay on the field with Forest Hill beating and bamming and holding the ball, and then us having to play. We got us a lead, and the defense … did an outstanding job because they were in a position to do something, to stop them.”

Warren Central scored the first four times it touched the ball to take a 26-0 first-quarter lead.

“We talked about it all week that we wanted to get out and establish the offense, get some points on the board and make them play to catch us,” Brewer said. “Their passing didn’t worry us as much, but their run game did worry us.”

Christian Hales capped off an 83-yard opening drive with a 7-yard TD pass to Michael Robinson.

On the ensuing kickoff, Forest Hill’s Laramie Collins returned the ball 91 yards for a touchdown, but it was called back for a block in the back at the Vikings’ 10-yard line. The Rebels began their drive at the 20, but couldn’t convert a fourth-and-3.

“I didn’t even realize it at first. I thought it was a touchdown, then they said there was a clip in the back,” Collins said. “I still felt like we should have scored right there, but the offense just didn’t come together. A lot of points we should have had, we didn’t get.”

Both sides credited the stop as a crucial momentum killer for Forest Hill.

“That was real big for the defense,” WC’s Chico Hunter said. “The defense had a goal all night just to stop them. That’s what we did, and we won the game.”

After the defense forced Forest Hill to turn the ball over on downs, Warner sped up the Vikings’ sideline for his 70-yard score. The defense then forced a punt, which Warner brought back 37 yards for a touchdown that put WC up 19-0 with 3:28 left in the first quarter.

“Coach stresses every day that the first five minutes of each half is important,” said Warner, who finished the first quarter with 119 yards on four carries. “That determines the ball game. You’ve got to jump on them early because you know if some teams stick around they’ll surprise you.”

Another three-and-out and a bad snap on the punt set up the Vikings at the Rebels’ 37-yard line. WC sent in its second-team offense and Carleton Davis juked his way to an 18-yard TD.

A muffed punt by Warner in the second quarter set Forest Hill up with good field position, and Kearney Brown hit a 37-yard field goal to trim it to 26-3. An interception by WC’s Christian Hales set up the Rebels again, but Stewart Robinson fumbled and WC’s Desmond Carson picked up the loose ball.

The Vikings couldn’t advance on offense from the Rebels’ 25, and Joey Bonelli kicked a 42-yard field goal for a 29-3 halftime lead.

In the second half, the Vikings were able to play many of their junior varsity players. Vic Tyrone notched a 1-yard TD, Davis picked up his second touchdown and Bonelli hit a 29-yard field goal to complete the romp.

“We’ve got one district game under our belt,” Hunter said. “We win the rest of them, and we’ll be all right.”