WC receiver: Records are nice, but wins are needed|PREP FOOTBALL

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 2, 2008

Records are nice, but a few more wins would be even better for Warren Central wide receiver Cordell Valentine.

The senior wide receiver tied the Warren County record for most receptions in a single game with 11 in Friday’s 13-9 loss to Northwest Rankin. Valentine now shares the mark with former Vicksburg High receivers Ben Shelton and Reggie Perkins.

“I didn’t know about it until I saw it in the paper,” Valentine said of his record. The 11 receptions went for a total of 131 yards and doubled his season output to rank him No. 1 in the county with 22 receptions for 251 yards. “I’d rather leave with more wins. But to do that, we need to play as a team. We have too many ‘I’s’ as it is.”

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Valentine did his part as six of his grabs went for first downs to sustain drives, including three on the Vikings’ only touchdown drive that was capped by Joel Forbes’ 14-yard run.

Viking quarterback Keaton Sanders, who was 12-of-24 for 132 yards, said getting the ball to Valentine was all part of the plan.

“We wanted to get the ball to him more since he has speed. He caught the ball good. He’s making plays,” Sanders said.

Valentine says the connection he has with Sanders goes back to junior high.

“Keaton and I have been playing together since the seventh grade. He was pretty much like he is now,” Valentine said.

Valentine says his success came by running his favorite route, the 10-yard out pattern.

“I love the four route, because I see everything. We also ran the zero hitch a lot because we were trying to make their outside linebacker to move out of the box. When he would come over to me after I caught the ball, I would try to cut inside.

“The 30-yard gain came on the four route, because I took it up after the catch and the outside linebacker missed me,” Valentine said.

In the second half, Valentine caught a key, 13-yarder by going into traffic to get a much needed first down. The play eventually set up Jared Thames’ 30-yard field goal that gave the Vikings (1-3, 0-1 Region 2-5A) a 9-7 lead in the third quarter.

“We ran the nine route and I got in between two guys. It’s all about making the catch and keep the chain moving,” Valentine said.

Valentine caught eight of his passes in the first half. Sanders said he expected Northwest to adjust and they did.

“They started keying on him and I tried some different receivers,” he said. BJ Williams got the other pass for a 1-yard gain.

In the last two games, Sanders has thrown 46 passes. He said he’s become more at home in the Vikings’ offense.

“I feel more comfortable. I feel like I’m reading defenses better,” Sanders said. For the season, he has completed 32 of 77 passes for 346 yards.

“Where we are now, we’ve got to make big plays. We’re doing a good job of moving the ball down the field. We just need to do better in the red zone,” Sanders said.

The Vikings are scheduled to play at Greenville on Friday night at 7.