Vikings look for positives after loss

Published 11:42 am Tuesday, August 30, 2011

There were so many ways Warren Central could have enjoyed the fruits of a great victory Friday night at Viking Stadium.

Instead, the Vikings (0-2) were left thinking what might have been as Callaway celebrated a 36-35 win in double overtime.

The loss left the Vikings exhausted and disgusted. Yet there were several silver linings. Enough clutch plays were made to put them within one play of winning the game.

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“I’m still upset that we lost,” WC safety Bill McRight said. “We played hard. Just so many things didn’t go our way. On their last drive before overtime, their quarterback converted three or four fourth down plays. He was very good. And they were huge.”

Callaway’s quarterback, T.J. Washington, had a big night. He rushed for five touchdowns and the game-winning 2-point conversion in the second overtime.

“They would go into a 2-by-2 set and spread you, but you were concerned about them running it up the middle,” McRight said of the Chargers. “Then he faked the dive and kept it around the big side of their line. He made plays.”

It was the plays the Vikings didn’t make that stuck in the craw of second-year coach Josh Morgan. The loss was easily the most bitter of his young head coaching career.

“To a point, you kind of know what’s coming on those quarterback options,” Morgan said. “The outside linebacker has got to make that play, but we sold out and he (Washington) skipped in.”

All three elements — offense, defense, and special teams — played a part in the loss. The Vikings’ first PAT attempt was blocked, so they had to go for two after the next two touchdowns, but failed to convert them. The first half ended with the Vikings up 18-16, despite having scored three touchdowns to Callaway’s two.

Later on, after Callaway took the lead with 50 seconds to go, the special teams redeemed themselves. Aaron Stamps returned a pooch kick 49 yards, setting up Devon Bell’s 42-yard field goal that tied it at 28 and sent the game to overtime.

Bell, however, missed a 29-yarder in the first overtime that could have won it.

The Vikings’ offense also had its good and bad moments. A 61-yard touchdown pass from Chase Ladd to Kourey Davis allowed WC to grab a 25-16 lead early in the third quarter. It was the second long touchdown pass of the night to Davis, who finished with 117 yards receiving and two TDs.

The Viking defense followed by getting a stop when Callaway could not get a punt off. Three plays later, WC faced a fourth-and-1 from the Charger 36. The Vikings’ Greg King got the first down, but was stripped after a 12-yard gain and Callaway recovered.

“Absolutely that was a big play because we could have put the game away with another score there,” Morgan said. “We had some very big plays from the offense and that was very good to see, but at the same time, we struggled to sustain drives and that puts our defense in a tough situation.”

On defense, the team continued to both shine and struggle. The unit intercepted three passes — including two by Snoop Washington and another that Tre Prentiss returned 80 yards for a touchdown — but couldn’t come up with a stop when it needed to.

Following King’s fumble, Callaway had two long drives to turn the nine-point deficit into a 28-25 lead with 50 seconds to go.

On the first drive, Washington converted a third-and-15 with a 24-yard pass to a wide open receiver. On the second drive, he converted three fourth downs and a third-and-14 to keep the chains moving.

Callaway coach Daryl Jones was glad to escape.

“This is one of the toughest places to play in Mississippi,” Jones said.