Later, Gators

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 8, 2004

Warren Central players celebrate the Vikings’ 37-0 win over crosstown rival Vicksburg on Friday night at Memorial Stadium. (Brian LodenThe Vicksburg Post)

[11/6/04]All year long, Jesse Pedyfoot has done the unheralded dirty work for Warren Central. As the fullback, Pedyfoot has made crucial blocks to spring tailback Larry Warner for big gains en route to a 1,700-yard season.

But before Friday night’s game against rival Vicksburg, Warner told Pedyfoot it was his turn to get 100 yards for a change and he did just that. Pedyfoot carried five times for exactly 100 yards with a touchdown (56) and Warren Central’s defense shut out Vicksburg 37-0. The Gators totaled 218 yards and never entered the red zone.

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“It feels good because I’ve been trying to break 100 yards since the beginning of the season,” said Pedyfoot, who left the game with a leg injury in the third quarter and had to leave on crutches. “My tailback Larry Warner said tonight was going to be my game, and I believed him. Breaking 100 against Vicksburg means the world to me. I couldn’t think of anything else I’d rather do.”

The 37-point win by WC was the most lopsided in the series since WC’s 55-15 victory in 1982. Vicksburg was shut out for the first time since 1999 and the 10th time in 24 games. WC now leads the all-time series 22-2.

“They have a good team,” VHS tight end Sean Gibbs said. “We had a few sparks, but we couldn’t keep it constant. It was just come on, come off. That’s pretty much the way the game went the whole 48 minutes.”

Warren Central (10-1, 7-0) finished undefeated in Region 2-5A play, after locking up the title a week ago against Grenada. The Vikings advance to the playoffs and will face Tupelo, the fourth seed from Region 1-5A next week.

“Our defense shut down a lot of stuff, the pass and the run,” WC defensive back Otis Stamps said. “Hopefully this will give us a lot of confidence by beating our crosstown rival, but we’ve just got to come out (next week) and do the same thing.”

The Gators, meanwhile, finished the season at 5-6, below .500 for the first time under coach Alonzo Stevens.

Vicksburg’s defense bottled up Warner for a season-low 31 yards on 13 carries, but allowed Pedyfoot to roam free into the secondary, giving up gains of 12, 30 and 56 yards in back-to-back drives in the first quarter.

“People may think it’s about me, but it’s not about me. It’s about the team,” Warner said. “I might not get my yards, it’s part of the game. I don’t need to get my yards, I look to help my team out.”

WC set the tone early on special teams when Chico Hunter blocked Cameron Curtis’ punt, and the ball rolled out of bounds at the VHS 4-yard line. Warner punched it into the end zone on the first play as WC took a 6-0 lead.

“I believe that was the breaking point of the game,” Gibbs said. “With a team like Warren Central, you can’t have anything like that happen. They thrive off the first five minutes of the ball game.”

Pedyfoot then had a 30-yard run that set up a 25-yard Eric Richards field goal. On the following drive, Pedyfoot put the Vikings ahead 17-0 with his 56-yard run.

“Everyone was playing outside for Larry, which just left the inside open for me,” he said.

After another three-and-out by the Gators, WC quarterback Christian Hales found Michael Robinson on a 40-yard score for a 24-0 halftime lead.

In the second half, VHS quarterback Eugene Morgan lost a fumble and WC took advantage right away. Backup quarterback Ryan Williams, who started the second half, threw a deep pass that was tipped up by Vicksburg’s Marcus Harris. The pass landed right in the arms of WC’s Fred Payne, and he ran it in for a 52-yard touchdown that put WC ahead 30-0.

On the first play of the fourth quarter, Williams tossed a screen pass to Warner, who sprinted down the sideline for a 56-yard score. Williams finished 2-for-2 with 108 yards and two TDs.

“I know they were keying on me, but I can catch out of the backfield,” Warner said. “They might think I can run and can’t catch, but I can do it.”