Vikings looking to regain swagger|PREP FOOTBALL

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 26, 2008

Warren Central’s coaching staff has worked hard to get the Vikings’ confidence back after last week’s stunning 40-8 loss to Hazlehurst.

The Vikings (1-2) will need it against a Northwest Rankin (3-1) club that is bigger and better in every area than Hazlehurst. The game at Viking Stadium will be the Region 2-5A opener for both teams.

WC coach Curtis Brewer expects to see a different Viking team than the one that staggered through the Hazlehurst loss.

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“We should be better prepared this week. We’ve got to get the mental focus back on football,” Brewer said.

The Cougars present a tough challenge. They have been producing points at a high rate of 29 per game. They opened with a 41-24 win over Kosciusko. Then after a 12-9 loss to Pearl, they beat Brandon 31-20. They followed up last week with a win over Terry.

“Both running backs are really good. They run a lot of formations. Although No. 20 (Terrance Crosby) doesn’t start, he is very fast and elusive. Can score anywhere on the field,” Brewer said.

The Cougars starter, Chad Wright, scored two touchdowns in the Kosciusko win. Northwest Rankin can also throw behind quarterback Chase Taylor.

“No. 6 (Sam Williams) is the go-to receiver. Their quarterback is always looking for him. They still run the wheel route to the backs but what they really like to do is get (Williams) loose,” Brewer said.

That could prove problematic for the Vikings, who last week gave up two touchdown passes of 35 and 15 yards and another pass for 39 yards that set up a short run for another score.

“We have a really young guy at corner and when you’re 5-foot-10 going up against a 6-6 receiver and it’s jump ball, go ahead and get your interference call. It’s a learning thing and we’ve got guys still learning how to play,” Brewer said.

The Vikings tried to two different sets of defensive linemen but could not slow down Hazlehurst, who piled up 209 yards rushing.

“At times we hemmed them up and knocked the fire out of them. Then we’d have a total fall off and breakdown. Hazlehurst did one of the better jobs with their mis-direction and they had some really good skill players,” Brewer said.

“But I know we are a much better football team than how we played last Friday night. We came back and beat a good Clarksdale team after a slow first half. We played well against Vicksburg,” Brewer said.

Not getting to play South Pike on Sept. 12 because of threatening weather also hurt.

“We had had a difficult week before that game because of the weather and got only one practice in for our defense, but we were on the bus ready to go play, and then we don’t play,” Brewer said.

WC is led by quarterback Keaton Sanders who was 7-of-22 passing last week. For the season, the senior has thrown for 205 yards. Cordell Valentine’s 11 receptions ranks second in the county while senior tailback Joel Forbes has 305 yards rushing.