Half the season is gone, half a season still to go

Published 6:00 am Thursday, September 20, 2018

Fall, officially, arrives this weekend. That makes it cruel to realize we’re already, unofficially, at the halfway point of the high school football season.

MAIS schools are actually at the halfway point — five regular-season games down and five to go. MHSAA teams have seven left, but this is the week when region play begins and marks a sharp transition to the main part of the schedule.

For every team, this is a good time to take stock and evaluate what has been and might still be. There’s a large enough body of work to get a feel for who a team is and what its potential can be.

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Our local teams have certainly had better starts. Warren Central, Vicksburg, St. Aloysius and Porter’s Chapel have four wins among them. The future isn’t necessarily bleak, however.

Warren Central is 1-2 heading into Friday’s home game with Northwest Rankin and has to go through four of the state’s best teams to make the playoffs. That’s a tall task in any year, and even moreso for a team that has struggled to find its footing on a number of levels.

The Vikings have a pedigree where they can’t be counted out, but must kick it into gear in a hurry to have a chance.

Vicksburg is also 1-2, but has an easier path to the playoffs. Neshoba Central (5-0) is the only undefeated team in Region 2-5A, and a lot of the other contenders have question marks. The Gators earned their first win of the season last week over Columbus, and several young players are starting to round into productive starters. They appear to be trending upward.

So does St. Aloysius (1-4), for many of the same reasons. Last week’s 48-6 drubbing of Porter’s Chapel was a coming out party for an offense that had scored 45 points in its first four games combined. The Flashes struggled with injuries and a tough schedule early, but several key players are returning to the lineup and the schedule slacks up soon. A late-season charge toward a playoff berth is possible.

PCA (1-4), meanwhile, was on the other end of that rout at Balzli Field and has an uphill climb. Among its final five games is one with District 3-AAA power Central Hinds and three Class A or AA schools that will not help its MAIS power point rating. A winning streak is necessary to reach the postseason.

The first half of the football season has been so-so for Warren County’s teams. Here’s hoping the second half is better, and interesting for all of the right reasons.

Ernest Bowker is the sports editor of The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at ernest.bowker@vicksburgpost.com

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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