Warren Central not about to take game at Greenville lightly

Published 9:00 am Thursday, September 27, 2018

In Region 2-6A, there are two distinct groups of teams. Starkville, Clinton, Madison Central, Northwest Rankin and Warren Central are all perennial powers and playoff contenders. Murrah, Greenville and Provine are generally also-rans.

When the haves play the have-nots, it’s usually a guaranteed win. Warren Central heads up to Greenville on Friday night for one of those games, and its challenge is to not treat it that way while maintaining the status quo.

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The Vikings (1-3, 0-1 Region 2-6A) dropped their region opener to Northwest Rankin last week. They need a win for a number of reasons, not least of which is to ensure they don’t fall even farther behind in the playoff race by dropping a winnable game.

“We’re in a position where we can’t take anything or anybody for granted,” Warren Central coach Josh Morgan said. “This is an important opportunity for us. We’re anxious and hungry for a victory.”

Warren Central has owned the series with Greenville (1-4, 0-1). The teams have met 25 times since 1981 — and every year but two since 1995 — and Greenville’s only victory was in 2010. Warren Central’s average margin of victory in the last six meetings is 33 points.

The Hornets, however, do present a unique challenge for the Vikings. They average 192.8 passing yards per game, which represents a big-play ability Warren Central has had some trouble with. Last week, Northwest Rankin had six pass plays of 20 yards or more and three touchdowns of 25 yards or more in its 45-28 win over WC.

Greenville is not quite as skilled as Northwest Rankin — the latter is ranked No. 2 in this week’s Associated Press Class 6A poll — but can still present plenty of problems, Morgan said.

“Northwest had two of Mississippi’s best athletes on the team and made us pay, and Greenville has those same types of athletes,” Morgan said. “You still have to make plays. It’ll be another opportunity to get better, especially on the back end, and correct the mistakes we’ve made in previous weeks.”

It has been a rough couple of weeks for the Vikings. They’ve lost back-to-back games for the first time since 2014. They haven’t lost three in a row since 2011. A four-week stretch in which they play Madison Central, Clinton and Starkville awaits on the other side of the Greenville game.

Despite the rough start and the tough road ahead, however, the Vikings are very much alive in their quest for a playoff spot. They bounced back from a loss to Northwest Rankin last season to reach the playoffs, and are trying to use that history as fuel for this year.

“That’s the most positive approach, so we have to take it and own it. We’re going to rally around it. Our locker room has been good,” Morgan said. “A win would sure be good medicine.”

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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