Upcoming book explores what makes Vicksburg-WC football rivalry unique

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 13, 2008

March 13, 2008

The question from author Mike Frascogna III was this: What makes the Warren Central-Vicksburg football rivalry different from the rest?

“How much time do you have?” I asked the author of the upcoming book “Ya’ll vs. Us”, which is scheduled to be published over the summer. The book chronicles 15 of Mississippi’s best current football rivalries. Not surprisingly, Warren Central-Vicksburg is one of them. The public release date is in October, but for 60 days before both Vicksburg and Warren Central’s booster clubs will have copies available.

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The current book comes on the heels of “Gridiron Gold.” That book profiles some of the most successful coaches — both on and off the field — in Mississippi history. The success of that book launched Frascogna’s latest endeavor. The Jackson attorney and former Notre Dame football walk-on visited both Warren Central and Vicksburg several weeks ago interviewing everyone from players to former cheerleaders to radio announcers. The questions were many, but usually came back to why the rivalry should be included in the book.

So why is WC-VHS different:

The way the school lines are drawn — virtually down the center of Vicksburg — families are divided. One side red and blue, one side green and white. Cousins who have grown up together find themselves on opposite sides. I remember watching Oren Bailess wear a one-half WC cap sewn into a one-half Vicksburg hat. He had family members on both sides of the line.

Because of that closeness, it’s like two brothers fighting. It may get heated at times, but when the games end, they return back to their families. I can recall few if any major incidents at a WC-VHS football game that would tarnish such an event.

Until the population influx into DeSoto County — south of Memphis — and not counting the Jackson Public Schools, Warren County was the only county to house two Class 5A high schools. (Vicksburg High has since dropped to 4A). Towns such as Tupelo and Meridian and Natchez have one public high school each, yet Warren County has two.

Having two large high schools in a county our size always seems to beg the question of forming one “super school” that would dominate athletic fields and gyms across the state. Then again, there would be no big game.

It’s now a rivalry. The first game between the two schools I saw was in 1996 at Memorial Stadium. Vicksburg had a big halftime lead and in the locker room was joyously celebrating as if the game had already ended. Three touchdowns later, Warren Central walked off the field with a 35-23 win.

The series was like that for a long time. From 1981 until 2002, Vicksburg High won one game, prompting VHS coach Alonzo Stevens to say, “How can anyone call this a rivalry if one team always wins?”

The Gators have won two of the last three. As lopsided as the series still is (24-4 WC), Vicksburg is starting to turn things around.

The two will meet again this year, likely in early September, for another family battle.

And that is the true reason WC-VHS is different.

It’s family.


Sean P. Murphy is sports editor of The Vicksburg Post. E-mail him at