Vikings can stay alive for region title with win tonight|[11/4/05]

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 4, 2005

Warren Central’s dramatic turnaround from losing team to state playoff contender can come full circle tonight with a win over Provine. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Hughes Field in Jackson.

The Vikings can officially wrap up their state record 21st straight playoff appearance and keep in line for a possible Region 2-5A championship with a victory.

The Vikings have made the playoffs every year except 1984, the first year of the current format.

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&#8220From the seventh grade up, it’s a reflection of all the coaches in this program,” WC coach Curtis Brewer said. &#8220It’s a constant process of getting the players ready for every game, improving every week and preparing for Murphy’s Law to hit.

&#8220After those first three or four games when we had things lined up, one of the worst possible things that could happen happened, and I’m referring to Chico (Hunter),” Brewer said of a season-ending injury to one of the top linebacker prospects in the state. &#8220Our guys did a great job of stepping up and making adjustments.”

Since Hunter’s injury in the second game of the season, WC went on a three-game losing streak. An 11-6 setback to region-leader Northwest Rankin was a springboard for the next four games – all Viking victories – including wins over rivals Madison Central and Clinton.

Northwest is unbeaten in region play, but will play Madison Central tonight. If Madison wins and all three teams end up with the same region record, a series of tiebreakers will be used to determine a champion.

Winning the region could pay huge dividends as the top three seeds in the North are ranked Nos. 1, 3 and 5.

Before making playoff plans, though, the Vikings will battle an inconsistent Provine team that lost most of its top players from last year’s stellar season. The Rams went the entire regular season without giving up a point before losing in the playoffs.

On one hand, Provine is a capable team that beat Vicksburg earlier in the season. On the other, they lost by three touchdowns to Murrah last week.

Brewer said he expects a defensive struggle. Three of Provine’s four seniors on defense are all on the defensive line. On offense, the Rams feature two senior linemen and the rest underclassmen, including sophomore quarterback Douglas Rush.

&#8220If they get ahead of you, they are very tough,” Brewer said. &#8220They are not going to make mistakes and they’ll make you drive the length of the field.”

The Vikings will conclude the regular season next Friday at home against archrival Vicksburg.