Vikings face Murrah between decisive region games

Published 9:38 am Thursday, October 15, 2015

For Warren Central, this is the calm in the October storm.

The Vikings are coming off a huge win over Madison Central. They’ve got even bigger games the next two weeks against Clinton and Starkville. Friday’s home game against Murrah (3-4, 1-2 Region 2-6A) looks easy by comparison — which is where the danger lies.

Warren Central (6-1, 3-0) is easily the favorite, but can’t afford to let a win get away by dwelling on its success or looking to the bigger challenges ahead.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

“Hopefully our guys understand where we are and press on, and continue to work like we’ve been working. This game carries as much weight as the Madison Central game,” Warren Central coach Josh Morgan said. “We’re not a good enough team for us not to prepare and play our best game. We’re totally focused on Murrah, because they have athletes and playmakers everywhere.”

Murrah has lost three of four after a promising start, but the three losses have come to teams with a combined record of 15-7.

Even with a sub-.500 record, Murrah is a dangerous team. Junior quarterback Steven Mitchell has thrown for 967 yards and 13 touchdowns, with only one interception in 122 attempts. Senior receiver Jamario Dixon has 39 receptions for 467 yards and seven TDs.

Warren Central, meanwhile, has won six in a row since losing its season opener to Wayne County. The Vikings are ranked No. 10 in this week’s Associated Press overall poll and seem to be improving every week.

Ten players have scored a touchdown on offense this season, and the defense and special teams have scored seven touchdowns.

Running back D.J. Knight has scored nine touchdowns and leads the team with 551 rushing yards, but that’s only about a third of the team’s total. Four players have at least 170 yards on the ground.

Morgan said the lack of superstars has helped this Vikings team embrace an underdog mentality that has suited the program well in recent years.

“We embellish the underdog role,” Morgan said. “Our kids are playing well together. Nobody cares who gets the credit. They just want to win. It pleases a coach to see a team take on that identity.”

The more the Vikings win, however, the tougher it’ll be to remain in the shadows.

A victory this week, coupled with losses by Northwest Rankin and Madison Central — who play Clinton and Starkville, respectively — would clinch a playoff berth and, most likely, at least the No. 3 seed in Region 2-6A.

Wins over Murrah and Clinton would set up a showdown with Starkville on Oct. 30 for the region championship.

All of it was set up by last week’s victory over Madison Central, a longtime nemesis. Morgan emphasized that it was no fluke. The Vikings have a 23-8 record since the start of the 2013 season. With a strong junior high program and a number of young players on this year’s roster, Morgan said, Warren Central is ready to step out of the role of occasional spoiler and plucky underdog to contender.

“This has been going on for four years. It’s not just one game and now we made it,” Morgan said. “It’s the way the program has grown, and it’s a testament to how hard the coaches and players have worked. It’s a program win, and it’s something we’ve worked mighty hard for to get to that point.”

Murrah at Warren Central

Friday, 7 p.m.

Radio: 105.5 FM

Online: For live scoring updates on Friday, visit or post

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.

email author More by Ernest