Vikings eager for ‘opportunity’ against Madison Central

Published 8:00 am Friday, October 5, 2018

A lot of people would look at having to play and beat three top 10 teams in four weeks as an impossible task. At the very least, as a highly difficult challenge.

Warren Central coach Josh Morgan prefers a different description — opportunity.

Morgan’s Vikings (2-3, 1-1 Region 2-6A) host No. 7 Madison Central (5-1, 2-0) on Friday night in the first of three big October games that will decide their fate in the Region 2-6A playoff race. They’ll also play No. 10 Clinton on Oct. 19 and No. 6 Starkville on Oct. 26, and likely need to win two of the three to be assured of a playoff spot.

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“It’s an important game. It’s another playoff team, and a district game, and another big opportunity. We have to have a sense of urgency because we’re about to run out of these opportunities,” Morgan said. “Everything is in our hands at this point. What we don’t want to do is lose that opportunity. It’s a very big game. It could get us back on the right track.”

Warren Central has been playing from behind in the tough Region 2-6A race since losing to No. 4 Northwest Rankin two weeks ago. It pulled even in the standings by routing Greenville last week and is now in a four-way tie for third place behind Madison Central and Northwest Rankin.

Four teams from the region qualify for the playoffs, which essentially makes every game in this October gauntlet a de facto playoff game. It also means Warren Central can still play its way in.

“We failed against Northwest Rankin. We have an opportunity to make things right,” Morgan said.

They’d like to get right in the series against Madison Central, as well. The Jaguars have won 12 of the last 14 meetings, including playoff victories in 2015 and 2017. Six of the last seven games between the teams have been decided by seven points or less, including both games last season. Madison Central won 31-27 in overtime in the regular season, and 28-26 in the second round of the playoffs by scoring a touchdown in the final minute.

Morgan downplayed that history, noting the annual changes in each team’s roster and the importance of this game to this year’s team.

“Different teams, different year, but I expect the same kind of game. It’s two teams that have a lot of similarities in their identity,” Morgan said. “The guys that went through last year, it’s there. But it just accumulates through our matchups with them.”

Madison Central is coming into the game on a roll. It has won five in a row since dropping the season opener to No. 3 Brandon. The streak includes a win over Clinton in the region opener that has put the Jaguars in control for a top playoff seed.

Madison Central has been to the Class 6A semifinals eight times in the past nine seasons, and the Vikings know they’ll have their hands full this Friday night.

“It’s real big. We’ve got to come with our A-game because they’re good,” Warren Central senior offensive lineman George Owens said. “Both of us are good and we’re chasing the same goal of a state championship.”

All games start at 7 p.m.

Madison Central at Warren Central (Radio: 105.5 FM)
Vicksburg at Cleveland Central (Radio: 107.7 FM)
Central Hinds at Porter’s Chapel (Radio: 104.5 FM)
St. Aloysius at Cathedral (Radio: 101.3 FM)
Franklin County at Port Gibson
Tallulah Academy at Claiborne Academy
Rebul Academy at Franklin Academy
Sharkey-Issaquena at Kemper Academy
Tensas Academy at Briarfield Academy
Madison Parish at Wossman

ONLINE: For live updates on Friday, visit

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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