Vikings can wrap up home playoff game with a victory|[11/11/05]
Published 12:00 am Friday, November 11, 2005
Eric Richards planned to spend Thursday night somehow trying to get some rest.
The Warren Central punter, who is also called on to kick long field goals, had plenty to think about as the clock ticked toward a showdown with crosstown rival Vicksburg High.
“It’s the biggest game of the year, every year,” the senior punter said. “You get a little more tensed up as the game gets closer. It’s really exciting.”
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With defenses as strong as the two on the field tonight, Richards’ kicking may play a huge role.
“I have had those visions of me kicking it for the win how it effects the whole season,” Richards said. “In my dreams, I kick it right through.”
Richards has booted three field goals this season, including a 43-yarder in a defensive 10-6 win last week over Provine. Warren Central’s defense stopped the Rams twice inside the 10-yard line late in the fourth quarter to preserve the victory and clinch the Vikings’ 21st straight playoff appearance.
The Vikings scored on their second play of the game and did not find the end zone the rest of the night. The inconsistent offense will have its hands full tonight with a Vicksburg (6-4) defense that has held opponents to less than 175 yards per game.
“Our defense has helped us out a lot this year and their defense has a lot of speed,” WC quarterback Ryan Williams said. “They have a very well-coached defense and It could be a defensive battle. The offenses on both sides are going to have to step up.”
WC allows 248 yards per game, but has 44 tackles behind the line of scrimmage and 17 sacks. Desmond Carson leads the team with 12 tackles for loss and nine sacks, while senior Dexter Carson leads the team with 83 tackles and Larry Walker has 15 tackles for loss.
The unit will face a dangerous Vicksburg team that put a 34-0 shellacking on Murrah last week. Sophomore quarterback Stanton Price has a wealth of talented running backs, and two of the top receivers in the area in Delmon Robinson and Vernon Wolfe.
“All you have to do is watch Vicksburg on film to see that they have a tremendous defense,” WC coach Curtis Brewer said. “But they have some really explosive offensive weapons as well.
With a win tonight, Warren Central will host a first-round playoff game, and can win the Region 2-5A championship with a win and a Northwest Rankin loss.
Over the years, winning over Vicksburg at Viking Stadium has not been a problem. Warren Central is a perfect 12-0 in games against VHS on Mississippi 27, and of those, seven have been by shutout. Overall, Warren Central holds a 22-2 lead in the series, which began in 1981 with a 17-0 Warren Central victory.
“It’s a good thing to know that you are getting ready for a game that the whole community gets involved in,” Brewer said. “It’s an important game, but we have always said that it’s important because it’s the next game on our schedule. Vicksburg is the number one important game for us right now.”