Quarterbacks, defense shine for WC

Published 12:45 am Saturday, May 17, 2014

For Warren Central coach Josh Morgan, the most impressive thing about his team’s Red and White spring game wasn’t any particular player, or everyone’s overall performance.

It was that the Vikings had the depth to make it all the way through and stay competitive from the first whistle to the last.

Warren Central split its roster into two squads Friday, Red and White, for its spring scrimmage. The Red won, 28-10, but strong performances on both sides and a competitive game left a smile on Morgan’s face.

Warren Central running back Joe Shorter carries the ball during the team's Red and White spring game Friday. Shorter ran for two touchdowns to help the Red win 28-10. (Ernest Bowker/The Vicksburg Post)

Warren Central running back Joe Shorter carries the ball during the team’s Red and White spring game Friday. Shorter ran for two touchdowns to help the Red win 28-10. (Ernest Bowker/The Vicksburg Post)

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

“Number one thing that stood out for us was to be able to compete for four quarters, split down the middle, with enough depth to actually do it and put a quality football team out there. That’s hard to do that,” Morgan said. “It looked good on both sides, even split up, and that’s encouraging. That means our depth is getting better.”

Although there’s no apparent competition for Warren Central’s starting quarterback job — last year’s backup Alex Stevens has been penciled in as the starter — all three players on the depth chart performed well.

Stevens and second-stringer Brooks Boolos each led two scoring drives in the second half to lead the Red to its come-from-behind win.

Stevens was just 5-of-12 passing for 32 yards, but ran for a 7-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter that put the Red ahead for good, 14-10.

Boolos, who saw time playing for both teams, then led the last two scoring drives on short fields after the White team fumbled twice. Running back Joe Shorter capped both drives with short touchdown runs.

D.J. Knight also had a 55-yard TD run early in the third quarter for the Red.

“It was a good spring. I’ve still got things to work on. The whole team does. We’re going to do that and get better,” Stevens said. “We did good throwing-wise, but turnovers is what we can’t have.”

Third-stringer Jessie Wilson, who will be a sophomore next season, also turned in an impressive performance.

He ran 4 yards on a quarterback draw for a touchdown in the first quarter, then led the White team to a field goal in the second.

Wilson’s best play came just before halftime, when he scrambled out of trouble, pulled up just short of the line of scrimmage, and launched a 45-yard strike into the end zone that was dropped by a wide-open Shon Terrance Walker.

Wilson was the quarterback for four of the White team’s six possessions in the first half and led it to a 10-0 halftime lead.

“We expect that from (Wilson). He’s been doing that all spring, and he’s one of those special players. We’ve still got some coaching to do and some work with him, but he’s certainly got that kind of ability to change games,” Morgan said.

Warren Central’s biggest strength last season was its defense and, despite giving up 38 points Friday, it had plenty of highlights.

The two offenses combined to go three-and-out nine times, and the defenses forced four turnovers.

Walker had an interception in the first half for the White, which later committed three turnovers on consecutive possessions in the fourth quarter.

Jeremy Judge and Caleb Boyette each had a fumble recovery for the Red, while Evan Mobley put a bow on the scrimmage by intercepting Wilson on the final play.

“I was really pleased with our young corners. We’ve put some guys at corner that haven’t been there in the past. And then our young defensive line. For most of the game they held up. I was probably happier to see that than anything, stopping the run and clogging holes,” Morgan said. “It was a spring game. We’ve still got a lot to work on. The summer is going to be mighty important to us.”

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 140-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

email author More by Ernest