Vikings ready to roll|WC faces Gulfport in late game of Red Carpet Bowl

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 21, 2009

Gulfport High makes a return visit to the Red Carpet Bowl and second-year coach Mike Justice is no stranger to the game either.

In 1992, Justice brought his Madison County Jaguars to the annual season-opening bowl game and left with 28-0 loss to the Warren Central Vikings. Gulfport is 1-2 in the RCB, including a 17-7 loss to WC in 2003 and a 20-8 win over Vicksburg in 2004.

Coach Curtis Brewer hopes his Vikings can enjoy results like they did in 1992 and 2003 in tonight’s meeting with Justice’s Admirals. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m.

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“Mike Justice teams want to slam you in the face,” Brewer said. “And on offense, he wants to make you stop them.”

Gulfport went 4-6 last year but they return 29 seniors, including its starting quarterback Derrick Lattimer.

“They have an outstanding quarterback in Lattimer. He should be the most dangerous person on the field,” Brewer said. “They also have a wideout in No. 4 (Kenny Hudson) who is real good. They want to get him the ball by putting him in motion.”

Justice said in a web interview with the Sun Herald that he felt the Admirals would be better this season.

“We won four in our first year, but that won’t be good enough this year. We have a lot better football team,” Justice said.

The veteran coach, who won a state 5A title at Madison Central in 1999 and two 4A titles at Louisville, said he was looking forward to seeing the Vikings again.

“I’ve played Warren Central at least 10 times over the years. They always hit you hard. You can’t dodge people with them and they’ll be tough at their place,” Justice said.

Gulfport ran out of the I-formation last year, preferring to use a power running attack. Justice said with an experienced quarterback, they will open up more on offense.

On defense, the Admirals will employ a 5-3 look.

Brewer’s main concern is the lack of time to get his Vikings ready. With the Red Carpet Bowl moved up a week from previous years, it took a week away from preseason work.

“We’ve had to cram 3 1/2 weeks into two weeks and really need some more time to work on things,” Brewer said. “We haven’t been able to have the time to build depth in our offensive and defensive lines. Right now, the backups on the defensive line will be the starters from the offensive line and vice versa. As the year goes, we’re anticipating bringing along more of our younger kids to defense.”

Offensively, the Vikings will start a new quarterback, junior Beau Wallace. Shon Jackson takes over as the lead back and WC will also have a new crew of wide receivers.

“Beau has worked hard this offseason and we feel he can have a good ball game. We’ll have Lebarron Lee, Chilo Jones, DeArius Blanton, and Layton Breithaupt as the receivers.”

On defense, the Vikings were hurt when returning starting middle linebacker Zack Carter transferred in the spring to Northwest Rankin. Taking his spot will be senior JaRelle Pedyfoot.

“I’ve been pretty happy with our defense. I know they are going to hit,” Brewer said.


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