WC tries to shake playoff blues

Published 11:15 am Friday, November 9, 2012

At Monday’s pre-practice meeting, Warren Central coach Josh Morgan brought out the program’s two state championship trophies from 1988 and 1994 for his team to see.

His message was a simple one of visualizing the end result of a goal.

“This is what we’re playing for now,” Morgan said. “We’re going up there to win and stay alive in the playoffs. Our biggest focus is on believing we can win it and preparing ourselves for the struggles, the ups and downs, of a playoff game, which a lot of these kids haven’t seen.”

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The road to Jackson starts tonight at Olive Branch (10-1), where the Vikings will take on the defending Class 6A champions.

Since the second of their Class 5A championships was won in 1994, the Vikings (6-5) have gone 3-11 in the postseason. Their last playoff victory was in 2002, when they beat Starkville 16-9 in the first round before falling to Southaven in the quarterfinals.

History is not on WC’s side tonight in Olive Branch. The Conquistadors have been the recent bane of WC’s playoff existence, eliminating it in 2005 (28-6) and in 2009 (38-6), the Vikings’ last playoff appearance. The two teams this season have one common opponent in Madison Central. The Conquistadors won a 31-28 nailbiter, while the Vikings let a tight game get away from them late in a 50-28 loss.

The good news is that if the Vikings can keep the game close in the fourth quarter, they’ve won three of five games that went to the wire. A big key to that success has been WC’s ability to force turnovers and either set up the offense in position or, better yet, get a score. The defense has scored twice this season.

“I’m very excited and I know my team is excited. It’s a big opportunity for us to show where we’re at as a football game,” WC defensive back Trey Prentiss said. “You can’t get too high or too low. It’s up and down the whole time. Our defense is really tight as a unit, your brother has your back and we just play for each other.”

But to Warren Central, history is exactly that.

“It’s going to have to be all of us, to be all in,” Morgan said. “We’re just focused on right now and Friday. The only thing we’re thinking about is playing our best football, our most complete game, at the most important time.”

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Warren Central

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