Vikings focused on improvement in rivalry game with Vicksburg

Published 8:00 am Friday, August 31, 2018

Warren Central is still looking back on last week’s loss to Pearl with a twinge of regret. It’s also looking ahead to its annual showdown with Vicksburg with a healthy dose of excitement.

The Vikings (0-1) will head across town to face their archrival Vicksburg (0-1) on Friday night in the 38th meeting between the teams. The Vikings are smarting after blowing a 14-point lead and losing 17-14 to defending Class 6A champion Pearl, while also hoping it provides the spark they need to clean up some nagging early-season issues.

“We no doubt missed a really good opportunity. But we have a better opportunity if we can get better from it, and that’s the plan,” Warren Central coach Josh Morgan said. “We had a pile of adversity. Some of it was self-inflicted, and some of it was inflicted upon us. We have to be able to overcome it and stay focused, and find ways to win.”

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Warren Central made a slew of mistakes that allowed Pearl to get back in the game, and an overriding theme of its season thus far has been an inability to sustain momentum.

In two games, the Vikings have scored four times on their first five combined possessions and took 14-0 leads both times. In 11 possessions after that, they have not scored at all.

Oxford scored on the first drive of the second half to cut it to 14-6 when the game was called because of severe weather. Pearl completed its comeback with 17 unanswered points, including the game-winning touchdown in the final minute.

“We’re critiquing every little bitty thing. We’re pleased with how we started both games. There’s some bright spots and some things to clean up,” Morgan said.

Playing Vicksburg might help in that regard. Besides being a rivalry game most players get amped up for, Warren Central appears to be a heavy favorite to win its seventh consecutive game in the series.

Vicksburg is coming off a 48-0 loss to Clinton in its opener, and is still retooling its lineup after losing nearly three dozen seniors from last season. Gators coach Tim Hughes said this week that he plans to shuffle some players around to new positions as he and his staff work out the kinks.

Warren Central, meanwhile, is much more set. Despite last week’s loss and some of the flaws it exposed, the Vikings are still a contender for the Class 6A championship. They ran for 215 yards against Pearl and allowed only 175 total yards.

Morgan said facing the Gators should snap his team to attention this week, but the focus is more on solving their own issues.

“It’ll help, but we’ve got to fix us,” Morgan said. “We’ve got to get things situated and understood, and get on the same page. Playing a rival will help expedite the process. But there’s still so much room for improvement that our focus will still be on us.”

That hardly means the Vikings won’t take a moment to enjoy and soak in the atmosphere of what is annually one of Warren County’s biggest games of the season.

“It’s fun. The whole game and the atmosphere of the game is what it’s all about,” Morgan said. “It’s big for the community and fun for the players. We understand the closeness of the two schools, and it’s what makes sports fun is when you get to play games like this.”

All games start at 7 p.m.

Warren Central at Vicksburg (WC radio: 105.5 FM; VHS radio: 1490 Am/107.7 FM)
St. Aloysius at Central Hinds (Radio: 101.3 FM)
Porter’s Chapel at Hillcrest (Radio: 104.5 FM)
Natchez at Port Gibson
Clinton at Brandon
Desoto School at Sharkey-Issaquena
Briarfield at Wilkinson Christian
Tallulah Academy at Prairie View
Madison Parish at Bossier

For live updates and 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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