This weekend’s a breather, but still plenty to see

Published 12:00 pm Thursday, November 6, 2014

This is a weird week for Warren County football, and Mississippi football in general.

It feels like we’ve spent the past month shaking up the world. Mississippi State and Ole Miss ascended to the top of the polls on the state level, while Warren Central and St. Aloysius proved they’re state championship contenders on the local scene.

And now, we pause.

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This week’s games are all relatively meaningless in the big picture. Everyone wants to win, of course, but the results this week won’t change the landscape like so many in October did.

State and Ole Miss, of course, are taking on Football Championship Subdivision opponents in the Southeastern Conference’s annual November charity drive and gift to wives everywhere.

As gratitude for providing an easy win, Tennessee-Martin and Presbyterian will get a fat paycheck that will fund its athletic department for months. Meanwhile, a pair of less than must-see day games provide couples with an opportunity for a date night.

Locally, it’s more of a calm before the storm.

Porters Chapel ended its playoff run last week, and Vicksburg High will collect equipment after it plays Neshoba Central on Friday night.

St. Aloysius and Warren Central have clinched playoff berths but can do little or nothing to advance their position. St. Al won the Region 2-1A championship and is a No. 1 seed.

Warren Central is playing for the No. 3 seed against Columbus, but feels like it can hang with anyone after pushing No. 4 Clinton and No. 1 Starkville to the limit. Even if they have to go to No. 2 South Panola in the first round, the Vikings have to feel good about their chances.

So what is there to watch for this weekend? Plenty.

Vicksburg’s fans can get a glimpse of the future as a group of young players make their debuts. The Gators are starting next year early, even as they bid farewell to their seniors.

The playoffs offer no promises, so Warren Central’s fans could be getting their last glimpse of one of the best defenses the state has seen in recent years. It could be the last home game game for seniors like DeArius Christmas, Chris Stamps, Michael Ware and Jamarcus Williams.

And, at St. Al, the regular-season finale will have a festive homecoming feel. The Flashes are not only entertaining Catholic school rival Greenville-St. Joseph — coached by Warren County resident John Baker — but longtime assistant coach Jimmy Salmon will have the fieldhouse named for him at halftime.

The honor for Salmon, who retired from coaching last year but still teaches, is well-deserved. He’s a beloved figure who has been the backbone of the program for years. Lots of St. Al alumni are sure to turn out to cheer him on.

By next week the eye of the football hurricane will have passed over and it’ll be back to the grind. The high school playoffs begin, and Mississippi State plays Alabama in a game crucial to its national championship hopes.

So kick back, celebrate the season and enjoy this weekend’s breather. It’s about to get busy again real soon.

Ernest Bowker is a sports writer. He can be reached at 601-619-7120, or by email at

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.

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