Vikings face tough task against Madison

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 9, 2008

Warren Central got a confidence boost with a road win at Greenville-Weston, but now comes Region 2-5A leader Madison Central to Viking Stadium Friday night.

The Jaguars, ranked No. 4 in Class 5A, are off to a 5-1 start and may be one of the few teams in north Mississippi able to challenge South Panola’s five-year streak of dominance when the playoffs start next month.

WC coach Curtis Brewer knows full well what a challenge his Vikings (2-3, 1-1 in region play) face.

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“We have a big task this week, maybe more so than any other team in the state. Madison Central is an excellent football team,” Brewer said.

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Madison Central at WC

Last year in the season opener, the Vikings took South Panola to the wire before falling 31-18 in the Red Carpet Bowl at Viking Stadium. The Jaguars will be the best team they’ve seen since then.

Junior quarterback Peyton Johnson runs the Jaguars’ mid-line veer offense but Brewer says he’s not the only threat.

“The quarterback does an extremely good job handling the mid-line. He doesn’t make mistakes. And he has so many weapons to go to, fullback, tailback, wide receiver and a big tight end,” Brewer said.

Tamarco Taylor is the tailback and Michael Johnson is the fullback. Johnson is one of only two senior starters on the offense. All nine juniors started last year.

“The entire unit is relatively intact from last year. They have played together for a long time and it shows,” Brewer said.

The Jaguars’ solid front line averages 255. Senior Chad Phillips (6-3, 275) anchors the unit.

Defensively, Madison has given up just 12 points per game. Against Tupelo, they came back from a 21-7 halftime deficit to beat the Golden Wave 24-21 on the road in overtime.

“They are sound on defense and they showed that they won’t quit after coming back to beat Tupelo. And they can explode. They did it to Clinton,” Brewer said of the Jaguars’ 51-14 dismantling of the Arrows two weeks ago.

Warren Central, meanwhile, played its best half of football since rallying to beat Clarksdale in the Red Carpet Bowl back on Aug. 29. The Vikings scored 17 first-half points and kept Greenville scoreless. Neither team did much in the second half and the Vikings got out of the Delta with a 17-0 win.

“A win never hurts you. It makes you feel better and our kids and coaching staff needed it,” Brewer said.

WC will try to stay balanced behind the passing of Keaton Sanders and the running of Joel Forbes. Sanders is 36-of-85 for 410 yards. Senior wide receiver Cordell Valentine leads Warren County in receptions with 24 for 280 yards. Forbes has 507 yards and three touchdowns on the ground.