Vikings start over with home playoff game

Published 9:02 am Monday, November 9, 2015

On Friday night, Warren Central will host Tupelo in the first playoff game at Viking Stadium in 11 years. It’s a milestone moment for the program, but coach Josh Morgan was adamant in saying that it’s a reward.

Not a gift. Not a guarantee. Just a reward for the work and success the Vikings have put in so far. If they want bigger rewards, they’ll have to roll up their sleeves and do it all over again.

“What we’ve played for every Friday night was for this, and it’s a reward. But it doesn’t mean anything if we don’t take advantage of it,” Morgan said.

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

Warren Central beat Callaway 14-8 in last week’s regular-season finale to improve to 9-2. It’s the second consecutive season in which WC has reached the nine-win mark, after going nine years without doing it.

The Vikings also secured the home playoff game by finishing second in Region 2-6A. They beat out a Clinton team that has been in the Associated Press Top 10 for most of the season and perennial power Madison Central to get it.

Warren Central won three games combined in 2010 and 2011, Morgan’s first two years at the helm. After a bounce-back season in 2012, it went 8-4 in 2013 and finished last in a three-team tiebreaker for the region title. Last year it lost its last two regular-season games to again finish third.

After hitting rock bottom five years ago, and then being on the wrong end of some bad breaks the last two years, Morgan said he appreciates how far the program has come.

“It’s a step, and it’s a big step. One- and two-seeds are hard to come by, especially in our district. You understand it’s tough, because we’ve been close several times,” Morgan said. “The guys in our program have seen us fight and claw for it, and it’s here, and now we have to take advantage of it.”

Now that the Vikings are back home for the playoffs, they have to tackle another task that’s vexed them for more than a decade — winning.

Warren Central has not won a playoff game since beating Starkville in the first round of the Class 5A playoffs in 2002. It is just 3-15 in the postseason since winning the Class 5A championship in 1994.

Tupelo has played a big part in WC’s postseason misery over the years. The Golden Wave has won four of the five playoff meetings between the teams, including 3-0 at Viking Stadium in 2004 and 20-17 at Tupelo in 2013.

Most of this year’s seniors were on the roster the last time the teams met. Morgan, however, said it’s been long enough that there’s little in the way of a rivalry or a shared history between the teams.

“We played Tupelo two years ago and they put us out. Then they went on to play for the state championship. This was these sophomores’ group, and they’ll remember that. Our seniors should be familiar. But, no, there’s none of that,” Morgan said, referring to any revenge angles he planned to use as motivation. “It’s all about surviving and advancing at this point. We’re just going to try to be at our best for four quarters.”

Up next

Tupelo at Warren Central

MHSAA Class 6A playoffs, first round

Friday, 7 p.m.

Radio: 105.5 FM

Online: For live updates on Friday night, visit and Twitter/com/vicksburgpost

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