Vikings look for homecoming magic

Published 12:35 pm Friday, October 22, 2010

Fresh off a big win over Northwest Rankin, things are looking up for Clinton as they come to Vicksburg tonight to face Warren Central.

Yet recent history suggests that the Arrows will have their hands full with the Vikings. Warren Central won three straight meetings from 2005-07. One of those was the homecoming game in 2006, when Clinton came in ranked in the top 10 and was heavily favored but lost to the Vikings in overtime.

Clinton has momentum on its side again as it comes to Viking Stadium for another homecoming game. WC coach Josh Morgan is hoping for some more homecoming magic. His team needs a win to keep its playoff hopes alive.

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“Clinton is definitely a big rival for us and we’ve had some success against them,” Morgan said. “We beat them here in 2006 and then the next year, they were really good, but R.W. (Comans) ran back that fumble and we beat them again. For whatever reason, some teams bring the best out of the other. Hopefully, this time we can have another one of those games.”

The Arrows (5-3, 3-1 Region 2-6A) enter the game with the Vikings (2-6, 1-3) sporting one of the league’s best defenses and a top running game led by Akiko Thompson.

“They really got after Northwest and played lights out on defense.” Morgan said. “The defensive line is really good and it’s because (Andrew) Bolton requires a double-team. Then they are very good tacklers.”

Thompson’s ability to move the chains keeps Clinton’s defense rested. He has rushed for 731 yards and seven touchdowns.

“Very good back. He’s been there three years,” Morgan said. “The quarterback is very effective, too. He doesn’t have the two twins they had last year at wide receiver but they are still just as effective in the passing game.”

Warren Central is coming off only its second win of the season after rallying to beat Murrah 14-13. Wide receiver Malcolm Grant was a big reason why. He scored the Vikings’ first touchdown on a 15-yard reverse, then caught the game-winning touchdown pass off a double reverse with less than three minutes to play.

For the season, the senior has 25 receptions for 503 yards, with four touchdowns. He’s also run for two scores.

“Malcolm’s had an impressive year,” Morgan said. “He’s found ways to help us. He’s lifted himself into a spot with a four-year school.”

Grant’s play has helped make up for the loss of running back Shon Jackson, who suffered a torn ACL earlier this season. The Vikings have struggled to run the ball in Jackson’s absence, but the passing game has picked up the slack.

Quarterback Beau Wallace has thrown for 873 yards and five touchdowns this season.

“We’ve had to go to more two fullback sets. The running game rests on Austin Roberts’ shoulders,” Morgan said. “We’ve also employed more short passes from Beau (Wallace).”