Vikings have rare opportunity to do great things

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 8, 2009

Some opportunities come once a lifetime.

Or once a season.

When most look at Warren Central’s game at Madison Central, ranked 15th in the latest USA Today high school football national poll, they see a mismatch.

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They see a senior-laden club with plenty of players drawing scholarship offers from all of the big-time college programs. They see a team that has had a stranglehold on the top spot in the state’s Associated Press prep football poll in Class 6A for much of the season.

Steve Wilson is sports editor of The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at 601-636-4545, ext. 142 or email.

They see a team that has outscored its last four opponents 142-16.

But one can just look at those red bumper stickers for Warren Central football on the cars of Vikings fans and see a phrase that sums up this week’s game.

This year’s motto? “The greater the difficulty, the greater the glory.”

It’s a paraphrase of Greek philosopher Epicurus, who said that “The greater the difficulty, the more the glory in surmounting it.”

Well, if the Vikings were climbing mountains, they’d be scaling Everest on Friday. But history is reserved for those who dare to do great things. Sir Edmund Hillary is world-renowned for being the first man to conquer that tortured peak in the Himalayas.

Nobody remembers who was the first man to climb tiny little Woodall Mountain, the highest point in the state.

Everybody remembers it was Meridian who finally slew South Panola in the 2008 Class 5A title game and ended the nation’s longest winning streak.

This mountain will require the Vikings to play their best game of the season, if not the past few years. Despite the look of a mismatch, the Vikings have played the Jaguars close in recent years.

Offensive coordinator Larry Tyrone’s game plan will have to find weaknesses in a Madison Central defense that averages 275 pounds per man across the front four and has held opponents in four out of its six wins to single digits. Quarterback Beau Wallace will have to avoid turnovers while being able to keep the Jaguars honest in the passing game. This will keep the Jaguars from stacking eight or nine defenders in the tackle box to stop running back Tim Jones.

Defensive coordinator Josh Morgan’s Viking defense will face its greatest challenge, as the Jaguars have the best big-play offense in the state. Junior wideout Tobias Singleton averages 17 yards per touch and has scored six touchdowns. Dual-threat quarterback Peyton Johnson has thrown for nine scores and rushed for five.

But in this great challenge comes a grand opportunity. A win would put the Vikings (4-2, 2-0) in the catbird seat in Region 2-6A. It would put them a step closer to turning the lights of Viking Stadium on in the postseason, something that has not happened in five long years.

The Vikings could lose Friday and still get a chance to host a playoff game, needing only to win out with the biggest test being the Oct. 23 game vs. Clinton.

But Sir Edmund Hillary didn’t get to be famous by climbing Woodall Mountain.

And the Vikings will not accomplish their goals by just settling. If they want to become a player on the state’s big stage again, a win Friday would go a long way toward that end.