Different styles work for WC

Published 9:27 am Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Perhaps the biggest goal for any team during its non-region schedule is to gain experience and confidence in as many situations as possible.

Warren Central can certainly check it off the list.

In just four games, the Vikings have taken a loss; won an offensive shootout in the final seconds; gutted out a rivalry game win with a less-than-stellar performance; and enjoyed a relatively easy blowout victory.

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They’ve been exposed to nearly every type of game, won three of the four, and gained confidence at every step.

“You had four different types of ballgames. The good thing is, we found ways to win them,” Warren Central coach Josh Morgan said. “Our offense against Pearl was unbelievable. They just answered the bell every time they were called on. Then the defense played well against Vicksburg. Natchez, we did a little of both.”

The Vikings (3-1) have an open date Friday before beginning Region 2-6A play next week against Northwest Rankin (4-0). Although there is no game this week, they’re hardly resting on their success. They can’t afford to.

Region 2-6A contains two of the top three teams in this week’s Associated Press Class 6A poll — No. 2 Starkville and No. 3 Madison Central — as well as preseason No. 3 Clinton and an undefeated Northwest Rankin team.

The first region game, against Northwest Rankin, is a big one. Over the years it has often been a swing game for either the Vikings or Cougars, with the winner eventually reaching the playoffs and the loser missing them.

“We’re treating it like a championship game, because it is for us,” Morgan said. “If we want to do what we want to do, this game is huge. We’re not going to dodge it and pretend it isn’t.”

That approach has not been lost on the players. Senior quarterback Brooks Boolos said that even though this is a bye week, practices have been as intense as if the Vikings were preparing for the playoffs.

“We feel good preparing for Northwest Rankin. That’s a big game, with big playoff implications. We’re looking to them, and we feel like we’re in a good spot to go up against them,” Boolos said. “We’re practicing harder this week that we have any other week, and we don’t even have a game Friday.”

Boolos has been one of the symbols of Warren Central’s ability to compete and succeed in nearly every type of game situation. The senior entered the season as the backup to junior Jesse Wilson, but played well enough to turn it into a two-quarterback system.

Wilson has completed 29 of 57 passes for 524 yards and five touchdowns. Boolos is 14-of-25 for 181 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.

Wilson threw for 294 yards and three touchdowns in a 45-42 win over Pearl and is the team’s second-leading rusher with 90 yards. He remains the starter, and Morgan emphasized that Boolos has earned more playing time far more than Wilson has done anything to lose it.

“They’re two different guys that bring two different styles. Brooks has done well making quick decisions, and Jesse is so dynamic and explosive that he’s tough to stop. They both deserve to play,” Morgan said. “We don’t look at it as a two-quarterback system. It’s our offense. Both guys have handled it well, and half the time people don’t even notice who’s calling the plays.”

Boolos said he and Wilson have not had any animosty toward each other over a potentially divisive situation.

“We have a good connection, and we’re good with it. We really want what’s best for the team, and whoever is going to give us the best chance to win is who we’re going to go with. We’re both fine with however it works out,” Boolos said.

Up next

Warren Central at Northwest Rankin

Sept. 25, 7 p.m.

Radio: 105.5 FM

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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