Championship weekend was good for some locals

Published 9:04 am Thursday, December 8, 2016

Last week I lamented the fact that Warren County’s high school football teams can’t seem to get over the hump and win a state title. Only once in 22 years — St. Aloysius in 2014, as its coach BJ Smithhart politely reminded me — has one of our local teams even reached the championship game.

The jinx doesn’t extend to individuals, though. Last weekend was a great one for Warren County’s football alumni.

It started with former Vicksburg High coach Tavares Johnson, Sr. He left in 2014 to become the head coach and athletic director at Hollandale Simmons, and last Friday he led that school to its second straight Class 1A title.

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

On Saturday, Brett Morgan got to hold the gold football that eluded him as a player. Morgan, the former Warren Central quarterback, is now the offensive coordinator at West Point High School. With Morgan’s offense averaging 35 points per game, the Green Wave won their eighth state championship overall.
Another former Warren Central star helped his team to a college title.

Linebacker De’Arius Christmas had 12 tackles and a sack to earn defensive MVP honors in Grambling’s 27-20 win over Alcorn State in the SWAC championship game. Christmas was all over the place, chasing down ball carriers in the open field and blowing them up behind the line of scrimmage.

The game’s announcers mistakenly said he was from Vicksburg, Louisiana, but quickly corrected themselves. They might have been afraid to turn around and see him in the booth, too.

Finally, on Sunday, two other former Vicksburg standouts put a capper on the weekend. New England Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler had his second interception of the season in a 26-10 win over the Los Angeles Rams.

Back in the college ranks, Army received its first bowl bid since 2010 and will be helped there by former St. Aloysius lineman Bash Brown.

Brown is a second-year cadet at the U.S. Military Academy. He’s no longer playing football, but is still involved with the game as a student manager for the Black Knights. He’ll travel to Dallas when Army takes on North Texas in the Heart of Dallas Bowl on Dec. 27.

It’s great to see that even though our teams sometimes stumble, they’re still producing great players and coaches who add to Vicksburg’s tradition.

Ernest Bowker is a sports writer for The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at

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