Vikings roll Greenville

Published 12:26 am Saturday, September 30, 2017

A week after falling to Northwest Rankin in a back-and-forth game, Warren Central came out and dominated Greenville from start to finish Friday night to earn its first region win of the season.

The Vikings held a 28-point lead going into halftime against the Hornets on their way to a 41-8 victory.
Warren Central (4-2, 1-1 Region 2-6A) started all four of its first half scoring drives in Greenville territory thanks to a failed Hornet fourth down conversion, a 60-yard interception return by safety Walt Hopson, a short Greenville punt and a Hornet fumble on fourth down at their own 6-yard line.

“It was important to get back on that field and to be better and work on things we’ve been working on,” Warren Central coach Josh Morgan said. “I’m really proud of how our guys prepared for this game and treated it like the big game it was to get to 1-1 in the district. I think we played pretty well tonight.”

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Hopson’s interception was one of five on the night for the Viking defense, including three on four possessions in the third quarter. Despite the five interceptions, Greenville quarterback Tayvon Littlejohn still managed to finish the game 30-of-57 passing for 326 yards and a touchdown.

“That was great to get five (interceptions) out here today,” Hopson said. “I didn’t think we could get five. I thought we would get two or three, but five is great. I’m glad we could set the offense up and get them going.”

Lamar Gray set the tone for the defense in the second half by picking off Littlejohn on the first play and setting up the Viking offense at the Greenville 15-yard line. Running back Corey Wilson capitalized on the field position by punching it into the end zone one play later to put his team up 34-0.

“The first five minutes of every quarter sets the momentum for it and we wanted to do that and come out and not be complacent with our lead at halftime,” Morgan said. “We moved some guys around on our defense and we put some guys in different positions and I think that helped us as well. It is good to see our DBs making plays when the ball is in the air. We did not do that last week.”

The Vikings took the lead with 8:01 left in the first quarter when quarterback F.J. Barnum found Mason Quimby wide open in the middle of the field for a 35-yard touchdown. Barnum finished the game 10-of-21 passing for 171 yards and two touchdowns.

His second touchdown pass of the night came with 8:17 left in the second quarter when he threw a 13-yard strike to Anfernee Funches amidst tight coverage in the middle of the end zone to put his team up 21-0.

Warren Central added four more scores on the ground. Wilson scored twice, while Funches and Jerry Stovall had one each. WC finished the game with 297 yards of offense, thanks to playing on a short field for most of the game. Stovall was the team’s leading rusher with 46 yards on seven carries.

“I thought we did some good things,” Morgan said. “I thought we were able to do pretty much what we talked about doing and executing. I’m very pleased with ending drives with points.”

Warren Central’s defense stymied the Hornets’ rushing attack throughout the game, allowing only 76 yards on the night.

With a big lead in the second half, Warren Central’s second-team defense played the majority of the snaps with the starters only coming back in once Greenville (1-5,1-1) reached the red zone.

The Hornets’ lone score of the game came with 10:42 remaining, when Littlejohn threw a 21-yard touchdown pass.

The Vikings will travel to Madison Central next Friday night for a key region 2-6A matchup against the Jaguars.

“In our two losses, we’ve been close and we’ve got to find a way to get over that hump in our big games,” Morgan said. “We’ve got to be better at winning time in those big games and find a way to win.”