Class 6A powers Warren Central, Pearl square off

Published 8:00 am Friday, August 24, 2018

There were three big takeaways from Warren Central’s rain-shortened season opener in the Red Carpet Bowl:

• The Vikings are still 0-0, as per the official ruling of the Mississippi High School Activities Association.

• They can run the ball really, really well.

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• The “new” season opener is shaping up as a whale of a ballgame.

After its game with Oxford was ruled a no contest when it was halted by lightning early in the third quarter, Warren Central will take on Pearl this Friday night at Viking Stadium. It’s a matchup of the defending Class 6A champion and one of the top contenders, of two teams that have combined for 46 wins over the past two seasons, and whose last three meetings have been decided by a total of 17 points.

“We have a great opportunity to play the defending state champion, and a team that we have had great games with in the past. It’ll be a great challenge and an opportunity, and a test to see where we are,” WC coach Josh Morgan said.

Pearl will certainly provide that. The Pirates have won 26 of their last 27, with the one loss in the 2016 Class 6A championship game against Clinton. They went undefeated in 2017 and ran their winning streak to 17 games by routing Brookhaven 36-7 in last week’s opener.

Morgan said that although Pearl lost some key players to graduation, it hasn’t lost a step.

“A lot of personnel has changed with them. They look similar on their special teams and defense,” Morgan said. “Offensively, they don’t look a lot like they did. They’re more run-oriented than they were last year.”

After two abbreviated games, the Vikings seem to be right near the top of the list of Class 6A contenders. They ran for 124 yards and shut out Terry in a two-quarter jamboree, then racked up 168 rushing yards and held Oxford to six points in a half and one drive.

Warren Central was ahead 14-6 against Oxford when lightning halted the game for the second and final time with 10:13 remaining in the third quarter.

Jerrious Stovall had 85 yards and a touchdown on only 10 carries, and Corey Wilson had 13 carries for 63 yards and a touchdown. The Vikings ran the ball 30 times.

“We looked very physical running the football. Our offensive line, for Game 1, did a phenomenal job. We were very dominant finishing our blocks and imposing our will. I don’t think we had a holding call,” Morgan said. “We’re fortunate to be able to do that and move the football. We’re going to play to our strength.”

The dominant running game has helped cover for some early-season jitters in the passing game. In the jamboree and Red Carpet Bowl, quarterbacks Antonio Thompson and Shane Lewis are a combined 8-for-20 for 99 yards, with no touchdowns and one interception.

Thompson, the more mobile of the two, ran six times for 28 yards against Oxford.

Despite the modest passing numbers, Morgan said he was happy with the way both Thompson and Lewis have run the offense. Keeping the chains moving — the Vikings have 27 first downs in the equivalent of one full game so far — was a sign that they’re operating efficiently, Morgan said.

“We feel confident in our quarterbacks, and they did a good job running the football team,” Morgan said. “We’re not putting a lot of decision-making on them yet. When we can establish our running game, it’ll open up the passing game. We have a good enough team to where we don’t have the mindset of putting it all on one person.”

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

For live updates and full game coverage on Friday night, follow us at,, and

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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