WC capitalizes on VHS miscues to win rivalry|[11/4/06]

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 4, 2006

The 26th annual meeting between Vicksburg and Warren Central put a fitting cap on the regular season in Warren County.

It was, all at once, ugly and yet very traditional.

Warren Central’s defense and special teams scored 16 points, and Joel Forbes added 102 yards and two touchdowns rushing as the Vikings beat their archrivals 29-9 Friday night at Memorial Stadium.

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It was WC’s 23rd win in 26 games against the Gators and avenged last year’s 10-0 loss at Viking Stadium. With both teams eliminated from the playoffs, it also gave WC (5-6, 4-3 Region 2-5A) a nice sendoff to a losing season.

&#8220It feels good since we lost to them last year,” said WC defensive end Vincent McRaven, who had a sack and recovered a bad punt snap in the end zone for a touchdown. &#8220Like the coaches said, it’s been 1994 since we ended the season with a win. This wasn’t the way we wanted to do it, but we’ll take it.”

While the Vikings celebrated, the Gators (4-7, 2-5) could do nothing but wonder where things went so horribly wrong.

Bad shotgun snaps led to five fumbles, two of which were recovered by Warren Central. Two long snaps also sailed over the head of punter Michael Cooper and were recovered in the end zone by WC for easy touchdowns.

All told, Vicksburg had seven fumbles and lost four. It also had a long interception return for a touchdown negated by a penalty and a fourth-quarter drive deep into Viking territory halted by a bad snap, two penalties and a sack that left them facing a fourth-and-57.

For the game, the teams combined for 10 fumbles, 96 yards in penalties, and just 189 yards of total offense.

&#8220It was no problems with the execution and the plays, it was the mental game,” Vicksburg offensive lineman Mark Cabatay said. &#8220The mental game came back and got us like it always does against Warren Central.”

Vicksburg’s problems began on the opening drive of the game.

After a bad shotgun snap forced a Gator punt, the punt snap sailed high over the head of Cooper. After a brief scramble in the end zone, Warren Central’s Quinton Truly fell on it for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead.

Vicksburg rallied on the ensuing possession, driving inside the 10 before settling for a 27-yard Cooper field goal that cut it to 7-3 with 2:43 to play in the first quarter. On WC’s next drive, however, another Gator mistake led to a decisive momentum swing in the Vikings’ favor.

On third-and-10 from the VHS 20, WC quarterback Keaton Sanders threw a fade toward the right pylon for Ben Wau Caples. Caples was double-covered by Vicksburg’s Vernon Wolfe and Delmon Robinson, and Robinson came away with an interception. He then weaved his way down the field for a 98-yard touchdown return and an apparent Vicksburg lead.

Wolfe was called for pass interference though, and the return was negated. Three plays later, Forbes punched in a 1-yard touchdown run and the Vikings led 14-3.

In the closing minute of the half, WC added another touchdown on yet another bad snap. This one was a punt that sailed high and wide of Cooper and was recovered in the end zone for a touchdown by McRaven with 22 seconds remaining.

Eric Richards’ extra point was blocked, leaving the score at 20-3 at halftime.

&#8220We just made a bunch of costly mistakes at bad times. Things didn’t go our way,” said VHS quarterback Stanton Price, who completed 19 of 25 passes for 115 yards. &#8220We were hoping to give them a little better run for their money.”

For a while in the second half, however, things did start to go the Gators’ way.

After holding Warren Central to a three-and-out on the opening possession of the third quarter, the Gators marched down the field in 15 plays for a touchdown. They were helped by three personal fouls on WC, including a roughing-the-passer call that wiped out an interception return for a touchdown by Chris Lacey. In all, WC was flagged four times on the drive for 43 yards.

Robinson capped the 7 1/2-minute drive with a 4-yard touchdown run that cut it to 20-9. Cooper’s extra point was blocked.

&#8220We wanted it. We knew we could play better and if we played our best we could get back into it,” Price said.

The Gators held WC to another three-and-out on their next possession and started another drive that threatened to get them back in the game.

Price completed three straight passes, including two on third down, to move the ball to the Warren Central 20. Then everything came unraveled for the Gators.

Center David Williams, fighting back spasms the entire night, sailed another shotgun snap over Price’s head. The resulting 25-yard loss was followed up by a false start penalty, a screen pass that lost five yards and a sack that lost 13 more. By the time it was over, Vicksburg was facing a fourth-and-57 from its own 33 and ended up punting.

Warren Central added a safety when Price lost his helmet in the end zone while scrambling – by rule, the play is blown dead when a player’s helmet comes off – and a 6-yard TD run by Forbes with 1:34 left that put the finishing touches on the win.