Vikings hope to stay on top

Published 11:25 am Thursday, September 27, 2012

Even if it’s only through one game, and it’s actually a tie with three other teams, the Warren Central Vikings are enjoying hearing the words “first place” in front of their name.

It’s the first time since October 2009 that they’ve sat atop the Region 2-6A standings. WC lost its region opener each of the past two years, and won a total of three games in 2010 and 2011.

After beating Northwest Rankin last week, the Vikings are 2-3 overall, tied for first place with Jim Hill, Madison Central and Murrah at 1-0 in Region 2-6A, and enjoying a taste of success for the first time in a while.

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“Previous years haven’t been the easiest times,” said WC defensive back Trey Prentiss, who has 23 total tackles and is tied for the team lead with two interceptions. “To be sitting at 2-3 makes me feel good. The program is really coming around.”

As good as the Vikings are feeling, however, they’re also acutely aware of how fast it can all come crashing down. They head to Greenville-Weston (1-4, 0-1) on Friday night for a pivotal contest.

Win, and WC not only remains in first place but gets a leg up in the race for one of the region’s four playoff berths. Lose, and it falls to 1-1 with defending region champion Madison Central — which has won 33 of its last 35 games within the league — coming to Viking Stadium next week.

For that reason, WC coach Josh Morgan was trying to instill a laser-like focus within his team on the matchup with Greenville.

“We just put ourselves two games ahead of Northwest Rankin, with the tiebreaker. It’s a big start for us. Now Greenville becomes just as important. All we’re trying to do is get to 2-0 in the district,” Morgan said.

Although Greenville has struggled to win this season, it still has several talented players. Running back Jarvis Harper has rushed for 358 yards, receiver Diquan Davis has eight receptions for 147 yards and three touchdowns, and the Hornets are averaging 21 points per game.

Greenville has hurt itself, however, with 18 turnovers in five games. WC’s defense has forced 14 turnovers.

“Turnovers and special teams are going to be key this week,” Morgan said. “Our focal point is stopping the run, first and foremost. We’re trying to take away big plays and make them earn everything they get.”