Warren Central scores 28 unanswered points to beat Vicksburg

Published 12:02 am Saturday, September 2, 2017

In the first half Friday night, Warren Central couldn’t do much of anything. In the second half, it did whatever it wanted.

The Vikings shook off a listless effort in the first two quarters by scoring 28 unanswered points, and routed their archrival Vicksburg High 35-7.

Warren Central finished with 203 rushing yards — Corey Wilson led the team with 59 yards and two touchdowns — and beat Vicksburg for the sixth consecutive time. The Vikings (2-1) had 209 of their 294 yards of offense in the second half, while Vicksburg only had 68 yards and two first downs in the last two quarters.

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“What we talked about at halftime had nothing to do with X’s and O’s,” Warren Central coach Josh Morgan said. “We didn’t change anything. We talked about doing what we were supposed to do and making things happen, instead of sitting around waiting and letting them dictate the game. And then we went out and did that.”

Vicksburg (0-3) got off to a good start when Joe Johnson completed a 49-yard pass to Tyler Wilbert on the first play of the game, and then a 10-yard touchdown pass to Nick Anderson five plays later.

The Gators, however, did not take another snap inside Warren Central territory for the rest of the game. The only time they crossed midfield was when D’Anfernee Battle ripped off a 10-yard run on the final play of the game.

“We made some adjustments. We focused on that all week. We focused on the offense, and we got that score early. That really helped us. We’ve just got to find a way to finish in that second half,” Vicksburg coach Lorenzo Breland said. “It was one play here or one play there. I think the plays they scored on were big play drives. It wasn’t like they marched it all the way down the field. All of that is fixable and correctable, and that’s just what we’ve got to do.”

Warren Central also struggled on offense. Corey Wilson’s 15-yard touchdown run in the second quarter tied the game at 7 and was, by and large, their only highlight of the first half.

The Vikings only had 85 yards of offense in the first two quarters, and quarterback F.J. Barnum was 1-of-4 passing for one yard.

Morgan said his halftime adjustments consisted more of giving the Vikings an attitude adjustment.

“I let them have it pretty good,” Morgan said. “We just weren’t being ourselves. We were not making anything happen, and we were just reacting to what we did instead of playing and making things happen. Fortunately, we turned that around.”

Morgan’s halftime pep talk did its job. Warren Central took the second-half kickoff and marched down the field in seven plays, capping it off with a 6-yard run by Wilson for the go-ahead touchdown.

After a three-and-out and a VHS punt gave the Vikings the ball back at midfield, Barnum threw over the middle to tight end Colin Standish on the first play. Standish caught the ball in the seam, juked a defender to get an angle toward the pylon, and took it to the end zone for a 21-7 lead with 6:52 remaining in the third quarter.

“(Morgan) gave us a motivational speech. It got in our minds, and we came out and we showed it,” Wilson said. “It gave us the momentum after we scored the first time.”

Warren Central added one more touchdown before the end of the quarter, with Barnum throwing a 29-yard pass to Anfernee Funchess on the next possession, and another in the fourth quarter on a 2-yard run by Jerry Stovall.

In all, the Vikings scored on four consecutive possessions after punting three of the four times they had the ball in the first half.

Barnum finished the game 6-of-10 passing for 91 yards and two touchdowns, and ran for 56 yards as well. Stovall carried the ball eight times for 46 yards and a touchdown.

“It was pretty good,” Wilson said of getting the win. “We only had one day of practice, so we showed in the second half what kind of team we were.”

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 139-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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