Warren Central happy with limited action in opener

Published 8:00 am Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Warren Central’s season opener turned into “Jamboree 2: The Sequel.”

The Vikings only got to play a half and six plays Friday night in the Red Carpet Bowl against Oxford before heavy thunderstorms forced officials to call the game early. Warren Central was leading 14-6 at the time and, although it was ruled a no contest instead of a victory, head coach Josh Morgan was mostly happy with what he saw from his team.

“We got a lot of good stuff to learn from and get better from,” Morgan said. “Most importantly, nobody’s hurt on a muddy field. It’s a long season and we need to keep everything in perspective. When the decision was made, that went into play, too. Everybody wants to finish the game, but ultimately you’ve got to take care of your guys. So we’ll approach it as we got to play a little bit longer than the jamboree and there’s definitely some things to work on and learn from film.”

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The Vikings worked around one weather delay and a shortened halftime to mostly dominate Oxford. They ran for 168 yards and two touchdowns in the first half, while holding the Chargers to 98 yards.

The effectiveness of the running game was the big highlight. Jerrious Stovall carried the ball 10 times for 85 yards, including a 39-yard touchdown on the opening drive of the game. Corey Wilson, Jr., added 63 yards on 13 carries, with a 13-yard touchdown on the final play of the first quarter that made it 14-0.

Quarterback Antonio Thompson added 28 yards on six carries as the Vikings averaged 5.6 yards per attempt. They ran it 30 times and only threw six passes in the first half.

All five of Warren Central’s possessions crossed into Oxford territory. Wilson’s touchdown was set up by a punt block from Shayne Ragan inside the Oxford 20, and another got just across midfield in the final moments of the half.

The Vikings drove 10 plays — all runs — and 81 yards on the opening possession, threw an interception inside the Oxford 30 the next time they had the ball, and missed a chance at a field goal because of a bobbled snap at the end of a 13-play, 5 ½-minute drive in the second quarter.

“We knew going in that we wanted to run the ball and needed to run the ball. That’s our strength,” Morgan said. “I thought our guys did a really good job of running. We took good care of the ball and both backs, Corey and Stovall, ran behind their offensive line and looked like they’d been playing a little bit. The quarterbacks did a good job running the team. That was good to see.”

The one lowlight, Morgan said, was Oxford’s first drive of the second half. Samual Bianco broke several tackles to turn a short pass into a 48-yard gain to the Warren Central 20-yard line on the first play. Five plays later, quarterback John Meagher ran a sweep to the right side, where there were no defenders, and scored for an 8-yard touchdown that cut it to 14-6.

The game was halted by lightning and eventually called before the Chargers could kick the extra point.
They made a play. We were not very good in our red zone defense there, and we’ve got to get better at that,” Morgan said.

“You can play good, but if you break you can put yourself in a situation where they’re right back in the ballgame. So we’ve got to be consistently good and not give up big plays.”

All games start at 7 p.m.

Pearl at Warren Central (Radio: 105.5 FM)
Vicksburg at Clinton (Radio: 107.7 FM/1490 AM)
Adams Christian at St. Aloysius (Radio: 101.3 FM)
Riverfield at Porter’s Chapel (Radio: 104.5 FM)
Bayou Academy at Central Hinds
Sharkey-Issaquena Academy at Calhoun Academy
Tensas Academy at Tallulah Academy
Rebul Academy at Briarfield
Port Gibson at Gentry

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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.

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