Warren Central heads to Hattiesburg|Vikings face stern test

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 4, 2009

Non-division games can either be a major springboard or a serious trap.

Win a big one and a team’s confidence, especially a young team’s, can be boosted beyond measure.

Lose a big one and a team can take a mortal hit below the waterline to its confidence going into the games that count.

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Warren Central gets another one of those big non-division games as the Vikings (1-1) tangle with Hattiesburg on the road tonight.

The stakes couldn’t be higher, even if a win or a loss doesn’t affect the Vikings directly in the Division 2-6A standings.

“There’s no question, a win would be huge for us,” WC defensive coordinator Josh Morgan said. “We picked people to play that would make us a better football team.”

After the Vikings blasted through Lawrence County 34-13, a Class 4A team many prognosticators thought would be a contender for a state title, they get another opportunity for a big win that will bring WC back to statewide prominence.

Hattiesburg won’t be an easy chore, with a big, brawny, defense and two formidable weapons in their offensive arsenal. The Tigers (1-1) also gave Madison Central all it could handle in a 21-16 loss. The Tigers forced the nationally-ranked Jaguars to erase an early 10-0 deficit to avoid an upset.

Tiger quarterback Tevin Chapman threw for 1,614 yards and 17 touchdowns and rushed for 922 yards last season. Marcquis Hosey is a 5-foot-5, 185-pound wrecking ball of a back who shredded Laurel for 111 yards and a touchdown in the Tigers’ 24-21 win in Week 2.

“Their quarterback is highly touted, but he’s got a strong arm, he’s very accurate and he can hurt with his legs as well as his arm,” Morgan said. “We’re going to have to contain him and take away the big play. The running back is just hard to tackle. He’s a short and stocky back who’s a north and south runner who runs low to the ground and packs a big punch. We’re going to have slow him down and take away the big passing plays.”

Hattiesburg finished last season 9-4 before losing to eventual state champion Meridian in the quarterfinals of the Class 5A playoffs. After facing a major college prospect, Matthew Wells, in Week 2, the WC defense gets another big challenge in Week 3.

“The kids know the better players,” Morgan said. “They read the newspapers and the online stuff and they know who they’re facing. Last week, they faced a Dandy Dozen running back (Wells) and what a challenge that was. This quarterback and running back Hattiesburg has is just as good, if not better.

“It’s just another challenge we have to face and that’s only going to make us a better football team.”

Helping WC’s traditionally strong defense is an offense that has become very balanced. One of the biggest factors is the rapid maturation of the Viking line. Cohesion of the line where the sum becomes greater than the whole of its parts is the difference between a poor line and one that can take over a game.

The results of their work has borne bountiful fruit on the stat sheet. Tim Jones, 300-pound fullback John Gustavis and Austin Roberts shredded Lawrence County’s defense for 261 yards. Junior quarterback Beau Wallace keeps defenses honest by stretching the defense via his arm. He went 6-for-7 for 72 yards and one score.

“Adding that passing element just helps out so much on offense,” WC offensive line coach Buddy Wooten said. “When teams can’t stack eight (defenders) in the box to stop your run, it makes it easier on everyone.”


Contact Steve Wilson at swilson@vicksburgpost.com