Football season ends too early for county schools

Published 12:03 pm Thursday, November 11, 2010

The fields are starting to turn brown with the lowering mercury, and soccer goals already stand where touchdowns were scored.

The Friday night lights are out and, except for soccer, they won’t be coming on for another year.

Cleats, helmets and pads have been turned in on the earliest date since playoffs in both the MHSAA and the MAIS started for local teams.

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But the early end to the season isn’t much of a surprise. All four of the county’s football teams were undone by flaws that no amount of coaching could overcome.

Vicksburg (2-9) was a Janus-like team, with the state’s most talented offense and its worst defense. At any level of football, giving up more than 45 points per contest is not a recipe for winning football. It made things much harder for the Gator offense, which was forced to play mistake-free on every single snap. Next season, the Gators return the core of the offense and hopefully, they can improve on defense. In a very weak Region 2-6A, there’s no reason why the Gators couldn’t be a playoff team at the least and possibly move up into second or third place at the most.

Warren Central’s (2-9) fatal flaw was an offense that ground to a halt when injuries turned the running back depth chart into one filled with burly fullbacks and young tailbacks not ready for primetime. With little or no threat of a running game, opposing defenses could sit back into coverage and force quarterback Beau Wallace to beat them deep, something that the Vikings seldom did. First-year coach Josh Morgan will have a largely new coaching staff going into next season, and expect some new ideas, especially offensively.

Porters Chapel (5-6), like Vicksburg, had a marvelous offense and a horrendous defense. Power-rushing teams like River Oaks, Tri-County and Central Hinds gobbled up a young corps of linebackers like a wood chipper. It also didn’t help the Eagles that their schedule had eight playoff-bound teams on it. A few cupcakes would’ve helped take some of the sting out of the physical pounding and allowed the defense to gel. The Eagles graduate eight seniors, including top lineman Caze Brewer and wide receiver Chris Marshall, but return prolific first-year starting quarterback Jonah Masterson and plenty of youngsters with a varsity season under their belts.

St. Aloysius (5-6) had far too many freshmen playing big roles in the two-deep. In a region loaded with such potent clubs as Mount Olive, Cathedral and Bogue Chitto, the Flashes lacked the experience to compete. But the season-ending win over Sebastopol, which knocked it out of the playoff chase, showed that the maturation process is already underway. Expect big things out of a young team in the near future.

High school football is a cyclical beast and, unlike college coaches, high school coaches have to play the hands they are dealt. Droughts don’t last forever. While this one stings for sure, expect it not to last long.

Steve Wilson is sports editor of The Vicksburg Post. You can follow him on Twitter at vpsportseditor. He can be reached at 601-636-4545, ext. 142 or at