WC wins heartstopper over Clinton

Published 1:28 am Saturday, October 24, 2015

A week before Halloween, the Warren Central Vikings survived one last scare from one of their personal Draculas and drove a stake right through its heart.

The Vikings stopped a two-point conversion try with 28 seconds left, then won when Tucker Barefoot missed a 44-yard field goal with one second left to escape with a huge 28-26 victory over Clinton on Friday night.

It was just the second win for Warren Central in its last eight meetings with Clinton. Three of the last four games in the series have been decided by a total of four points.

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

“I was extremely proud of our guys. There were a bunch of things that didn’t go our way,” said Warren Central coach Josh Morgan, his voice hoarse from shouting over the crowd. “We had a couple of untimely turnovers and managed to get off the field without giving up points. We had a long touchdown called back. We faced a lot of adversity, and I was proud of their character and willingness to win. I’m proud to be their coach.”

The win, Warren Central’s eighth in a row, set up an even bigger game next week. The Vikings (8-1, 5-0 Region 2-6A) will host No. 2 Starkville (8-1, 5-0) with a chance to clinch their first region championship since 2004.

Warren Central needs to win one of its last two games, either against Starkville or Nov. 6 at Callaway, or have Clinton (6-3, 4-1) lose one of its last two games in order to host a playoff game for the first time since 2004.

“I haven’t gotten a chance to put it all in perspective yet. I’ve been so locked in on Clinton,” Morgan said. “We’ll enjoy this. It’s a chance to come home, in front of our crowd, our seniors in their last home game, in one of the biggest games for our program in a long, long time.”

D.J. Lane rushed for 102 yards and two touchdowns in the first half for Warren Central, and quarterback Jesse Wilson added another rushing touchdown for a 21-12 lead at halftime. Clinton quarterback Cam Akers threw a TD pass and ran for a score, but the Arrows had two extra points blocked — two valuable points that came back to haunt them as things got really interesting late.

Darius Maberry had a 7-yard TD run for Clinton, but a two-point try was no good. Wilson answered with a 1-yard scoring run to put the Vikings ahead 28-20 with 3:28 left.

Clinton drove down the field and got within two points on a 1-yard run by Walker Burchfield with 28 seconds left. On the two-point try, Akers rolled right and threw back across his body into the middle of the field. D.J. Knight intercepted it to seemingly secure the win, but nothing was that simple in this game.

Clinton recovered an onside kick and Akers competed a pass to the WC 27-yard line with 16 seconds remaining. Akers was injured on the play and did not return, leaving the Arrows’ fate in the hands not of its Alabama committed quarterback but of the backup Burchfield.

Burchfield spiked the ball to stop the clock, then threw incomplete with six seconds left to set up Barefoot’s long field goal try. It missed, and the Vikings finally breathed a sigh of relief.

“We got put in a bad situation and we were able to stand tall one more time,” Morgan said. “We made two big plays and got them to kick a long field goal. We’d blocked two extra points already, so we felt pretty good about our chances there.”

Up next

Starkville at Warren Central

Friday, 7 p.m.

Radio: 105.5 FM