Warren Central knocks off Vicksburg again

Published 12:48 am Saturday, September 1, 2018

Warren Central missed out on a trophy presentation in its first trip to Memorial Stadium this season, and made certain that it didn’t happen again.

Corey Wilson ran for 131 yards and a touchdown, Jerrious Stovall added 83 yards and two touchdowns, and the Vikings rolled up 341 total yards on the ground as they beat archrival Vicksburg 35-6 on Friday night.

Warren Central was leading Oxford in the third quarter of the Red Carpet Bowl two weeks ago when that contest was cut short by lightning, costing it a chance to leave with that game’s trophy. The Vikings weathered another lightning delay Friday — this one immediately after the opening kickoff — to claim the River City Classic trophy for the seventh consecutive season.

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“Technically, it’s our first win of the season. This game’s important for all the common sense reasons. So it was good to not only get this one, but to get a win and to get better. We’re excited about it,” Warren Central coach Josh Morgan said. “I think we were better at being us. We didn’t do anything different. We just played better. We took care of the ball and played cleaner. The stuff we’ve been working and will continue to work on was going a long way.”

The Vikings (1-1) started fast again and, unlike in previous games, sustained the momentum all the way through. Stovall scored on runs of 1 and 52 yards on the first two possessions of the game to spot Warren Central a 14-0 lead with 4:18 left in the first quarter. Wilson scored on a 9-yard run midway through the second to push it to 21-0.

Warren Central has scored on its first and second possession five out of six times in its first three games, and now has outscored opponents 49-0 in the first half.

“Tonight we were better at it. It was definitely a point of emphasis to keep the gas on and keep being aggressive, not only with our effort but with our play calling,” Morgan said. “They get locked in and they get ready to play, and I think you see that when they come out of the gates. What we’ve got to be able to do is maintain that.”

Despite being down big, Vicksburg didn’t give up. It answered Wilson’s touchdown with a 16-play, seven-minute drive that resulted in a first-and-goal at the WC 3-yard line with under a minute left in the first half.

Two sacks and a stuffed running play halted the drive in its tracks, however, and the Gators (0-2) came away with nothing.

On the other side of the halftime break, Warren Central took the kickoff and drove right down the field, capping a seven-play, 65-yard drive with a 21-yard touchdown pass from Antonio Thompson to tight end Chris Greene. Shane Lewis, the Vikings’ other quarterback, scored on a 1-yard run on their next possession to make it 35-0 with 5:01 left in the third quarter.

Vicksburg coach Tim Hughes said not scoring at the end of the half was deflating, and carried over into the third quarter.

“There was some things that, desire-wise, we wanted to see change. So some butt chewings were delivered. That’s part of coaching,” Hughes said. “When that happened, there was a little bit of shellshock in them, and then they get to go out and make those changes we just asked them to make.”

The Gators’ offense did rally later on, sustaining a few drives and eventually finding the end zone on a 9-yard touchdown pass from Levi Wyatt to running back Tacarie Stewart midway through the fourth quarter.
Wyatt finished the game 24-of-40 passing for 245 yards, with the one touchdown and no interceptions, but was sacked six times.

Stewart had a stellar night, with 164 total yards and a touchdown. He ran the ball 15 times for 95 yards — more than half of it on a 53-yard burst in the second quarter — and caught six passes for 69 yards.

“That’s what I’m looking for. It’s stepping time, it’s an emotional game, I think they had to weather that emotion at one point in time and once they decided they could get to playing football, they got to playing football a little bit,” Hughes said. “They stepped up tremendously in the second half. There was never a laydown. There was never a time of letting something happen.”

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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