Biggest test of all for Vikings|Prep football

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 9, 2009

To be the best, you must beat the best. Or so an old adage goes.

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Warren Central at

Madison Central

Warren Central (4-2, 2-0 in Division 2-6A play) will have that opportunity tonight as the Vikings travel to Madison Central, the top-ranked team in Class 6A and the No. 14 team in the latest USA Today prep football poll.

But the Vikings don’t see themselves playing the underdog role. They see Madison Central as the latest obstacle in their path to their goal: a division title.

However, that obstacle stands quite tall in their path.

The Jaguars (6-0, 2-0) are loaded at every position, with a huge senior class manning every critical rung on the depth chart.

But the Vikings have traditionally played the Jaguars tough, losing 28-10 last season when the Jaguars pulled away from a close game late.

“They’re a challenging football team, but you’ve got to face challenges,” WC coach Curtis Brewer said. “You can’t back up from them, there’s no way to avoid it. I’ve got confidence in the kids that they will give it their best shot and that’s all you can ask.”

Defensively, the Jaguars have shut down their opponents, holding them to single digits in their last four games.

The defensive line, one of the state’s best, averages 278 pounds per man and boasts a pair of heavily recruited players, end Carlton Martin and tackle Byron Bennett. Linebacker Tyree McDonald is the team’s leading tackler with 39 stops.

Offensively, the key to the Jaguars’ prolific attack is the tandem of dual-threat quarterback Peyton Johnson and wide receiver Tobias Singleton.

Johnson has completed 67-of-113 passes for 870 yards with nine touchdowns and four interceptions. Whereas in years past Johnson was more of a threat in the option game, he now excels throwing the football as well, making him twice as difficult to defend. The senior signal caller has rushed 40 times for 215 yards and five touchdowns.

“There’s no doubt about it, he’s the most dangerous person on their team,” WC defensive coordinator Josh Morgan said about Johnson. “He’s always a threat. The past two years, they have been very dangerous with the option, with him being more of a runner. This year, they’re starting to throw the ball a whole lot more and that’s a whole another dimension.”

Singleton is likely the best player the Vikings will encounter this year. After being the only sophomore named to the Class 5A All-State team with 49 catches for 942 yards and 13 scores, his junior season has been similarly stellar. The 6-foot-2 wideout has caught 21 balls for 309 yards and six touchdowns. He is also a threat running (three carries, 58  yards and one score) and returning kickoffs, averaging 48 yards per return.

But Singleton and Johnson aren’t the only weapons in the Madison Central arsenal.

“What makes them dangerous is that you can’t gameplan against one person,” Morgan said. “They have so many weapons and they find ways to get everyone involved, from the wideouts to the tight end and three different backs that can go the distance at any given time. We’ve got to cover every part of the field, cover every player and play assignment football.”

Madison’s other wideout L.J. Hollins is similarly sized, while tight end Will Bryan stands 6-foot-3, giving Johnson big matchups to mix and match downfield. Tailbacks Joe Price, Tamarco Taylor and fullback Elliot Carson shoulder the burden on the ground.


Contact Steve Wilson at