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WC’s Warner, Carson tapped for All-State team

Warren Central’s Larry Warner runs past Forest Hill defenders during a standout senior season that earned him first-team All-State honors. (Jon GiffinThe Vicksburg Post)

[12/10/04]All season long, Warren Central collected wins like a child collects baseball cards. On Thursday, they raked in postseason honors with the same sort of ease.

Four WC players were selected to the Mississippi Association of Coaches Class 5A All-State team, while a dozen Vikings earned All-Region 2-5A honors. Both teams were released Thursday.

Running back Larry Warner and defensive lineman Desmond Carson earned first team all-state, while cornerback Otis Stamps and linebacker Chico Hunter were selected to the second team. Vicksburg High tight end Sean Gibbs was also selected second-team all-state.

Warner was also selected Co-MVP of Region 2-5A, along with Clinton’s Maurice Woods. Hunter was selected Best Defensive Player, Stamps was named Best Return Specialist, and the WC coaches were picked as Coaching Staff of the Year.

“It’s something I’ve been working for all season,” Warner said of the all-state selection. “We had a great year. It was a great year for the offense and the defense.”

Warner was the catalyst for a WC offense that averaged 32 points per game. He ran for 1,852 yards and 18 touchdowns the highest yardage total for a WC player since 1994 and racked up 2,105 all-purpose yards.

The 5-foot-3, 150-pound senior surpassed the 100-yard mark eight times, and ran for more than 200 yards on three occasions. He earned The Vicksburg Post’s all-county Offensive Player of the Year award for the second straight season and helped the Vikings to their second consecutive Region 2-5A championship.

“He’s led us to two straight region championships, and the entire offense is built around him,” WC assistant coach Robert Morgan said. “You’ve got 10 other guys around him, but he’s the sparkplug for everything.”

While Warner was making jaws drop with his speed and shiftiness, Carson went about his business quietly.

Hunter, WC’s hard hitter in the secondary, and Stamps, its pass-picking cornerback, got most of the attention and publicity. But Carson’s presence up front made their jobs easier.

The 6-foot-3, 220-pound junior defensive end amassed 67 tackles and nine sacks. He also had 19 tackles for loss.

“He’s not a runner or a jumper or a hollerer,” WC head coach Curtis Brewer said. “When you see Desmond slapping other people’s heads, you know he’s fired up.”

Hunter led the Vikings with 108 tackles, to go along with five interceptions.

He and Stamps, who grabbed eight interceptions, spearheaded one of the top defenses in Class 5A. WC posted three shutouts this season, didn’t allow a touchdown in its last four games, and gave up an average of just 7.6 points per game.

“Three of them (all-state picks) are on defense, and they all played extremely well on it,” Brewer said.

Hinds AHS star Austin Divinity was selected to the Class 2A All-State second team as a cornerback, even though he had a much larger impact at several other positions.

Divinity split time between quarterback and running back, and excelled at both. He completed 31 of 84 passes for 581 yards and three touchdowns, and ran for another 1,088 yards and 23 touchdowns.

Divinity was also a special teams whiz. He returned one punt for a touchdown and averaged 26.6 yards per kick as the War Dawgs’ punter.

At defensive back, however, Divinity had just 27 tackles, three fumble recoveries and one interception.