Now we can get a read on high school teams

Published 10:00 am Thursday, September 17, 2015

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the folly of trying to gauge a football team off of one performance.

By this point of the high school season, however, we can start to get an idea of who’s got what. As the saying goes, once is an anomaly, twice is a trend and three is an identity. There’s still time to rise or fall with six or seven games left in the regular season, but by Week 4 it’s at least clear where the strengths and weaknesses are.

With that in mind, it’s time to evaluate each of Warren County’s teams on what they’ve done so far and where they seem to be heading:

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• Vicksburg High (3-1) has been one of the bigger surprises in Class 5A. Its defense is shutting down opponents to the tune of 10.5 points per game, which will keep it in most games.

The Gators need to pick up the pace on offense, but should at least contend for the Region 2-5A title.

• St. Aloysius (0-4), meanwhile, has been one of the bigger disappointments in its classification. The Flashes lost a number of starters from last year’s MHSAA Class 1A runner-up, but were still expected to be a solid team. Instead, they’ve floundered as inexperience and injuries have wreaked havoc. The closest of their losses was 18 points.

There’s still time to turn things around and make a playoff push, but the clock is ticking. A loss in Friday’s district opener against Hartfield Academy could be a crippling blow.

• Porters Chapel (1-3) expected to struggle with a young roster, and has. PCA has a forfeit win over Riverdale on its resumé, but has been blown out all three times it’s taken the field. Even so, the Eagles proved last year by making the playoffs with a 2-8 record that no postseason dreams are impossible in the MAIS with even a smidgen of success.

• Warren Central (3-1) seems to find a different identity each week. First, it had an explosive offense and a shaky defense. Then it had a lockdown defense and a conservative yet effective offense.

Whatever the Vikings are doing, they need to keep it up because it’s working and things will only get tougher from here. They open the Region 2-6A schedule next week on the road against a resurgent Northwest Rankin team, and showdowns with Madison Central, Clinton and Starkville await in October. A multi-faceted approach might be needed to successfully navigate that gauntlet.

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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