Upsets are possible, just not this season

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 5, 2004

[11/4/04]It is an annual event that draws nearly one of every four local residents, but has a different feel this year. That’s because nothing will be at stake for either Vicksburg or Warren Central except bragging rights for the next 364 days.

We’ve been spoiled over the past three years when the Gator-Viking game meant almost everything. Last season, the region championship was at stake. Two years ago the Vicksburg Gators made news by beating the Vikings for only the second time in the history of the contest.

Stadiums were sold out last year. Parking was horrible. Excitement was at a fever pitch. The crowd was hysterical before Warren Central took command of the game.

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But this year is different. The Gators are rebuilding. Their offense has been inconsistent at best and a staunch defense has carried the team to its five wins. This is also a Vicksburg team that handed No. 7 Brookhaven its only loss of the season, had No. 11 South Pike on the ropes in the fourth quarter and had a chance to knock off No. 6 Gulfport in the Red Carpet Bowl Classic.

However, the Gators have squandered chances to beat Grenada (a 6-3 loss) and Clinton (a 13-7 loss). With wins over one or both of those, Friday’s game would have wider meaning.

Warren Central has been a different story altogether. With an offense that averages nearly 35 points per game and a defense that is allowing fewer than nine, the Vikings are a returned punt away from an undefeated season.

South Pike used a fourth-quarter special teams play to hand WC that 24-22 loss early in the season. The Vikings ran the table in the region, collecting huge wins over Clinton and Madison Central.

That said, the game Friday night will take on a unique feel, but one still filled with emotion. A win would mean everything for Vicksburg. One player said Tuesday that Friday’s game is the Gators’ postseason. A team building for the future could get a huge momentum boost with a win over a Top 10 team, especially one that is located in the same county.

Logic says Vicksburg has little chance in this annual matchup. In every statistical category, the Vikings are superior.

But then again, Mississippi State had no chance of beating Florida, and the Boston Red Sox were supposed to lose to the Yankees.

Upsets happen.

Just not this year.

Sean P. Murphy is sports editor of The Vicksburg Post. E-mail him at smurphy@vicksburgpost.com.