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Running back Warner, safety Hunter made Vikings go

Warren Central running back Larry Warner, left, and WC linebacker Chico Hunter, right, clown around in the WC locker room with Porters Chapel coach Randy Wright. The three were chosen to receive the top football honors in Warren County for 2004. (Jon Giffin The Vicksburg Post)

[12/5/04] One has made his reputation by making big hits, the other for his ability to avoid them.

Together, Chico Hunter and Larry Warner led Warren Central to a 10-1 regular season record and second straight Region 2-5A title. For their performances, Hunter earned the Vicksburg Post’s 2004 Defensive Player of the Year and Warner the 2004 Offensive Player of the Year awards.

“This is the best year Warren Central has had in a while, great year great defensive year and great offensive year,” Hunter said.

Hunter led the Vikings’ defense, which allowed the fewest points (89) in Class 5A this season. The junior safety totaled 108 tackles and five interceptions.

In his senior season, Warner led Warren County with 1,852 rushing yards for a gaudy 11.0 yard per carry average and 18 touchdowns.

“They’re here everyday and they work every day,” WC coach Curtis Brewer said. “By their example, they’re telling other people to come on and play and let’s do what we can. They’re a joy to be around.”

Hunter made his presence felt as a sophomore last year, roaming across the field and making big hit after big hit on defense. Brewer said he often has become worried that the opposing player was seriously hurt after being laid out by Hunter.

This season, he even hammered Vicksburg High quarterback Eugene Morgan so hard that he gave himself a mild concussion and had to sit out the second half. Hunter said his favorite hit of the season came on a punt return against Greenville, but he’s not even happy with the punishment he dealt out this year.

“I’m not satisfied with any of them,” he said. “I didn’t really catch nobody right this season. Hopefully next year I will.”

Warner followed up his successful 2003 campaign with another amazing season.

The two-time player of the year didn’t skip a beat between seasons, rushing for 301 yards and four touchdowns on only eight carries against Southaven in the season-opening Red Carpet Bowl.

Behind all his success, Warner showed his resilience by fighting through injuries.

The shifty tailback battled through a sprained ankle for much of the season. In the playoff game against Tupelo, Warner then suffered a high ankle sprain to his right ankle but taped it up and re-entered the game.

“Most people miss two, three, four weeks with a high ankle sprain … He taped it and wanted to go back,” Brewer said.

Warner said it wasn’t easy.

“It was kind of tough running with two hurt ankles,” Warner said. “The style of runner I am, I like to cut and all that, but with hurt ankles I couldn’t do it at full speed.”

So what’s next for Warner after the end of his high school career?

“Hopefully, college,” he said. “I’m getting people looking at me, but they’re just looking at me so that doesn’t mean anything yet.”

Hunter, on the other hand, returns for his senior season next year, ready to make more heads roll.

“One of my main goals is to get more tackles than I had this year, get more picks, and be a leader for my team,” he said.