Vikings treat jamboree as actual game

Published 10:43 am Wednesday, August 12, 2015

When preseason jamboree games became a regular part of the schedule a few years ago, Warren Central’s coaching staff decided to treat it as an actual game. Everything from the practice schedule to how equipment is prepared and the travel plan is done the same way as it will for any other road game.

This time, in addition to the schedule, the opponent is one that should prepare the Vikings well for what lies ahead.

Warren Central will take on Germantown Friday night in the Madison County Jamboree at Germantown High School. The Mavericks are coming off a 10-2 season and have one of the best players in the state with cornerback Nigel Knott.

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With next week’s season opener against perennial Class 5A power Wayne County looming, as well as difficult games with Pearl, Madison Central, Starkville and Clinton on the schedule, Warren Central will not only get a dry run through its game week routine, it’ll get a stern test of its talent.

“That’s what it’s all about, is being tested,” WC coach Josh Morgan said. “We’re hoping to get some weaknesses exploited so we can fix them. We’re coming out of the gate with some mighty fine football teams.”

Warren Central and Germantown’s jamboree game will begin at 5:20 p.m. Their varsity teams will play two quarters, followed by another two quarters with the junior varsity. Velma Jackson will play Madison-St. Joseph in the first jamboree game, while Madison Central and Ridgeland will play the last game.

One of Warren Central’s biggest challenges Friday might be getting a good look at all of its players in a live-game situation. There are 107 currently on the roster, split into five offensive and six defensive units.

“I need some more coaches and equipment,” Morgan joked.

While significant playing time might be hard for some players to come by on Friday, the overpopulated sideline is a nice problem to have.

The big roster means the team has plenty of depth, and plenty of competition for the 15 starting spots that opened up in the offseason.

“We have so many holes, we’re trying to be sharp as an offensive unit, a defensive unit and a special teams unit,” Morgan said. “We will always be critical, and nobody has a job that’s safe. We have a lot of depth, and there’s going to be competition every week to touch the field. If we’re not happy with it, we’ll go to the next man.”

There’s not a lot of time left to tinker with combinations.

The season-opening Red Carpet Bowl against Wayne County is next Friday at Viking Stadium. That’s followed by two more home games against 2014 semifinalist Pearl and archrival Vicksburg.

The difficult schedule might tag the Vikings with some losses, but Morgan said it’ll make them better for another rough stretch in October that includes Region 2-6A opponents Madison Central, Clinton and Starkville.

The latter two are among the favorites to dethrone South Panola for the Class 6A title this season.

“Every two years, you get to revitalize your schedule,” Morgan said. “It’s all about being tested and pushing yourself by playing top-notch teams.”


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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