Vikings looking for any positives

Published 11:17 am Monday, October 11, 2010

Mathematically, Warren Central hasn’t yet been reduced to playing out the string. In almost every other aspect, the last month of the season will be more about playing well than the playoffs.

Friday night’s 49-7 loss to No. 2 Madison Central dropped the Vikings’ record to 1-6 overall, and 0-3 in Region 2-6A. It was their ninth loss in 11 games going back to last season, making it one of the toughest stretches in the program’s 45-year history.

At this point, the Vikings are merely searching for some measure of success. The team that reached the Class 6A playoffs last season has been reduced to finding something to salvage from a 2010 campaign that has slipped away through a series of injuries and tough losses.

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“It’d help lift spirits, and attitude and morale,” WC coach Josh Morgan said of earning a win. “These kids spend a lot of time working with no rewards to show for it, and it’s tough. They need something good to happen to them.”

That something might come during a relatively easy stretch to end the season. The Vikings face winless Murrah (0-7, 0-3 Region 2-6A) this Friday at Newell Field in Jackson, followed by games with Clinton, Vicksburg and Grenada. Of those teams, only Clinton (4-3) has a winning record. The other three have a total of two wins between them. By contrast, five of WC’s first seven opponents are over .500 and four have at least five wins.

Despite the miserable start to the season, the schedule over the final month could allow Warren Central to pick up a few wins and finish on a positive note.

“The opportunity is there, but we have to beat Murrah. All our focus goes there. One week at a time,” Morgan said. “The opportunity is there. They know that, we know about that.”

The large number of struggling teams in Region 2-6A has also kept all of them in the race for a playoff berth. With four games left in the regular season, only undefeated Madison Central and Northwest Rankin have separated from the pack.

If Warren Central — or Vicksburg or Grenada, for that matter — can get on a winning streak in October, they could make a late-season playoff push. WC is the only team in the region that has played both Northwest Rankin and Madison Central so far, meaning one of the reasons behind its 1-6 record could help in the long run.

Even with that tiny glimmer of hope, though, Morgan was quick to silence any talk of the postseason.

Madison Central gashed WC for 441 rushing yards on Friday night, following similar results against Ocean Springs, Northwest Rankin and Natchez. WC has allowed at least 200 rushing yards four times this year. Even if the Vikings can get on a roll in the season’s final month, the reward is likely to be a first-round game at defending Class 6A champion and top-ranked South Panola.

The loss to Madison Central, as well as the past month of games, showed the chasm between WC and teams that are cementing their status as playoff teams. Morgan, despite his optimism for a strong finish, was quick to dismiss any talk of the postseason.

“That’s that farthest thing from our minds right now,” Morgan said. “We’re not a playoff team right now.”