Richards, Carter are picked as all-stars|[02/16/07]

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 16, 2007

Warren Central’s football fortunes took a dip last season, but its ability to produce some of Mississippi’s best players has taken a decided upturn.

Punter Eric Richards and linebacker Wade Carter have been selected to play in this summer’s football all-star games by the Mississippi Association of Coaches.

Richards will play for the Mississippi squad in the Mississippi-Alabama All-Star Classic June 2 in Mobile, while Carter will play for the North in the Bernard Blackwell Classic July 19 at Mississippi College.

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Richards is the first Warren Central player to play in the Mississippi-Alabama game since quarterback Brett Morgan in 2002. Like Morgan, Richards will continue his career next season at Mississippi State. Richards averaged 45.4 yards per punt this season, had touchbacks on 31 of 44 kickoffs, and converted 8 of 12 field goals.

&#8220Both of them deserve what they got,” Warren Central coach Curtis Brewer said. &#8220Eric earned his over two years. He got the opportunity to be seen and worked hard when he was young. He did more than an outstanding job.”

While Richards was a steady performer for three years at WC, Carter was more of a one-year wonder. He returned to Vicksburg after living with relatives in North Carolina for the last two years. An unknown when he showed up for fall practice, he quickly earned and kept a starting linebacker spot for the Vikings.

Carter finished with 113 tackles, a team high, and helped Warren Central become one of the top defensive units in Class 5A. More impressive, Brewer said, was Carter’s work in the classroom. The transfer forced Carter to do extra coursework to make up for lost credits so he could graduate on time. Carter did, and he will. He signed to play at Hinds Community College last week.

&#8220The thing I’m most proud about with Wade is, everybody got to see what he did in football. But he had to spend a lot of time working to get himself academically able to play and graduate,” Brewer said. &#8220A lot of credit goes to Wade. He had to overcome a lot of obstacles, and anybody who saw us play saw the level he could do it at.”

Warren Central wasn’t the only Vicksburg-area school with all-stars.

Port Gibson’s Maurice Crutison, a running back and linebacker, will play in the Mississippi-Alabama game. Crutison only played in three games in 2006 after suffering a knee injury last winter, but had 34 tackles and caught six passes for 80 yards. He signed with Mississippi State.

South Delta coach Derrick Hooker will be an assistant for the North in the Bernard Blackwell Classic and will have one of his players on his sideline. Tailback Garrett Williams, who rushed for 989 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2006 – and made 68 tackles as an all-state defensive back – will play for the North. So will Clinton defensive end Darryl Barnes, who had five sacks in his senior season. Williams signed with Delta State.

Across the way, Hinds AHS’ Derrick Steele will suit up for the South. The quarterback and defensive back threw for 603 yards and ran for 510 more. He signed with Hinds Community College and will likely play defensive back in the all-star game.