Vikings try to stop the bleeding

Published 12:00 pm Thursday, October 14, 2010

Warren Central’s season has been like a long trip in an old, dilapidated car.

It started off a little bumpy. Before long, parts were falling off and a sinking feeling began welling up in the pit of the stomach. Now, halfway to their destination, the Vikings have little option but to limp home and try to make the best of it.

WC (1-6, 0-3 Region 2-6A) heads to Newell Field in Jackson on Friday night to take on Murrah (0-7, 0-3), the first of three games in the final month of the season against teams with losing records. It’s a stretch that, at best, could allow Warren Central to sneak into the playoffs or salvage a few wins from a disappointing year. At worst, it could be the final chapter of a season-long nightmare.

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“Can we win them all? Absolutely. Can we lose them all? One hundred percent,” WC coach Josh Morgan said. “We know where we are. No surprises. We understand what we’re labeled as. These next four games, we’re all just alike. We need something successful to happen.”

Success has been hard to come by for the Vikings in 2010. The team’s top two tailbacks heading into the year, Shon Jackson and Alex Sorrells, both suffered knee injuries in September. That took a huge chunk out of the team’s offensive playbook and left them scrambling for an identity.

Quarterback Beau Wallace has picked up the slack somewhat. He was 18-of-35 for 138 yards and a touchdown, and completed passes to seven different receivers in last week’s 49-7 loss to No. 2 Madison Central. For the season, he’s thrown for 743 yards and four touchdowns. Wide receiver Malcolm Grant has caught 22 passes for 377 yards and three TDs.

The running game,

however, has been almost non-existent since Jackson was hurt against Natchez. In three region games, WC has totaled just 162 yards on the ground and doesn’t have a rushing touchdown.

“Beau Wallace is our offense,” Morgan said after the loss to Madison Central. “Malcolm Grant is doing a very good job, but hands down, Beau Wallace is our offense.”

Defensively, the Vikings have been a similar mixed bag of success. Their three region opponents have completed fewer than 50 percent of their passes for less than 200 yards total, but have gashed them on the ground.

Northwest Rankin and Madison Central alone rushed for 700 yards combined against WC, and two other opponents have had at least 200 yards as a team. Madison Cenral’s Joe Price ran for 252 yards and five touchdowns last week.

“The main concern is the missed tackles,” Morgan said. “We were doing what we wanted to, making them work, then (Price) would break those long runs. We defended the pass well and ran to the ball well.”

Morgan said the porous run defense is a concern against Murrah. Although the Mustangs haven’t won this season and lost nine in a row going back to last year, Morgan said it’s not for a lack of talent.

Running backs Greg Riley and Frederick Franklin have each rushed for nearly 400 yards, and Franklin has scored five touchdowns. Tight end Randy Wallace leads the team with 18 catches, although he only has 128 receiving yards.

“They’re bigger than us and faster than us,” Morgan said. “They’ve just had a bad luck run, but they’re capable of playing with anybody and doing good things.”