Four Down Territory: Warren Central is where the Buffalo roam

Published 8:00 am Tuesday, October 2, 2018

You’re in Four Down Territory. Each week we’ll spotlight four notes, nuggets, stats or trends from the weekend that was in Mississippi high school football, college football, and the NFL.

Warren Central took the opening kickoff Friday against Greenville and quickly moved down the field. When the Vikings reached the 2-yard line, offensive coordinator Rob Morgan called a play they had never run before.

“Coach Rob called it the Buffalo Package,” head coach Josh Morgan said. “It was a little bit of a morale booster, but we also knew it would be effective.”

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The play was a simple fullback dive, but with 400-pound offensive guard George Owens carrying the ball. The senior took the handoff and bulled into the end zone to start WC on its way to a 49-8 victory.

It was the first touchdown of Owens’ high school career, but hardly the first time he’s carried the football or even crossed the goal line. Before moving to the offensive line when he reached the varsity level, Owens was a star running back for Warren Central’s eighth-grade team.

“It was flashbacks to the eighth grade,” Owens said with a huge grin. “It was just fun to run the ball and have a touchdown. I picked a hole and dove in there.”

Although it was the first time Warren Central’s buffaloes stampeded, Josh Morgan said it won’t be the last.

“It’s 100 percent right now, so we’re definitely going to keep it in,” Morgan laughed.

In a meaningless spot and by a very narrow margin, Alcorn State had an impressive streak snapped on Saturday night.

Leading 20-3 with two minutes left in their game against Southern University, the Braves elected to go for it on fourth-and-6 at the Southern 20-yard line. A handoff to Marquise Forman lost a yard and Alcorn turned it over on downs.

Because the snap came at the 20-yard line, it officially went in the books as a red zone possession and marked the first time this season that the Braves have not scored on one. They converted on three trips inside the 20-yard line earlier in the game, and on their first 20 of the season.

Five teams in the Football Championship Subdivision — Cornell, Fordham, Northern Iowa, Davdison and Elon — are still perfect on possessions inside the 20-yard line, but all have had fewer of them than Alcorn.
Only six of the 124 FCS teams have scored more in the red zone than Alcorn State.

Porter’s Chapel Academy had a scary moment in its game Friday at River Oaks, when sophomore safety Nathan Dees suffered a concussion and a spinal injury while trying to fight through a block.

Dees was taken from the field in an ambulance and then transferred to a helicopter en route to a hospital in Jackson. Monroe has no trauma center to deal with severe neck injuries and is almost exactly halfway between Jackson and Shreveport, the two cities that do. Cloud cover prevented the helicopter from taking him directly to the hospital.

Dees spent most of the weekend in the hospital, but was released Sunday and is expected to make a full recovery, PCA coach Blake Purvis said.

“I talked to him this morning. He was up and walking around,” Purvis said on Monday. “Obviously, he is out for the year. I hate to say there’s nothing serious, but he is expected to make a full recovery.”

Vicksburg High’s defense had a bad night in Friday’s 68-42 loss to Neshoba Central — it was the second week in a row it has give up 50 or more, and the first time it allowed at least 60 since 2012 — but the offense had a notable game.

Quarterback Levi Wyatt completed 24 of 34 passes for 378 yards and four touchdowns, with no interceptions. It was his second consecutive game with four touchdowns, and the first 300-yard game by a Warren County quarterback since VHS’ Joe Johnson threw for 314 yards against Lanier in 2016.

Wyatt’s 378 yards were the fifth-most in county history. Former VHS quarterback and current assistant coach Cameron Cooksey holds the county record of 535 yards, set against Northwest Rankin in 2011.

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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