My favorite Warren County football memories

Published 9:23 am Thursday, August 13, 2015

If the 2014 season was a renaissance for Warren County’s high school football teams, there’s little doubt that 2011 was the low-water mark.

Not one of the county’s four teams finished with a winning record. Porters Chapel had the best mark at 6-6. Combined, the county went 13-32.

And yet, it was both the worst of times and the best of times.

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While the teams struggled, there were a lot of great players on them.

Four years later, they’re about to make a major impact on the world of college football. Nearly a dozen of them will on college rosters this season, including four in the Southeastern Conference. Another, Vicksburg’s Clyde Kendrick, is playing professional baseball in the Texas Rangers’ minor league system.

All four high schools are represented on the list.

Warren Central punter Devon Bell and Vicksburg High receiver A.J. Stamps were our defensive and offensive players of the year, respectively. Both were named to the preseason All-SEC team — Bell at Mississippi State and Stamps at Kentucky.

Stamps moved full-time to safety, led East Mississippi Community College to a national juco championship two years ago, and will likely be in an NFL training camp in the summer of 2016.

Porters Chapel Academy’s Talbot Buys is a bit further down the depth chart, but should see some playing time for Ole Miss. Vicksburg’s Norman Price is the starting right tackle at Southern Miss, his linemate Jeramey Hill is over at Grambling, and three other Gators are playing Division II or Division III ball.

Drake Dorbeck is on the roster at Southern Miss, but just a freshman — same as he was as a freshman for St. Aloysius in 2011 — and might not see a lot of playing time.

With so much talent, the 2011 season was one of the most fun I’ve seen during my tenure with The Vicksburg Post. Stamps and Kendrick were part of Vicksburg’s record-setting offense that totaled nearly 5,000 yards and blew up scoreboards across the state.

Even Warren Central, which was battling through a 1-10 season, had some outstanding individual performances.

So what does this trip down memory lane mean?

Never judge a book by its cover. Check out a game or two, or 11, this fall. You might see a future NFL star, an All-SEC performer, or just a remarkable performance you’ll talk about for years.

The season unofficially begins with the preseason jamborees Friday night — Vicksburg High will host one, and the other teams are on the road at Millsaps College and Germantown High School — and gets under way for real next week.

Win or lose, I can’t wait to see what we’ll see.

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