Playmakers 2022: Warren Central’s Jack Wright was born to be a quarterback

Published 8:00 am Monday, August 22, 2022

Editor’s note: This story appears in the 2022 edition of “Playmakers,” The Vicksburg Post’s annual football preview magazine. “Playmakers” is included in The Post’s weekend print edition on Aug. 20, on sale now, and is also be available at the newspaper’s office at 1106 Washington St. in downtown Vicksburg.

Jack Wright, it seems, was born to be an athlete.

Almost from the time he could walk he was on the field with a bat and ball following baseball games at Porter’s Chapel Academy, where his father Randy was the baseball and football coach. From third grade onward he was playing quarterback on every football team he played on.

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And now, as a senior, he’s heading into the season as the starting quarterback for Warren Central. It’s a spot he’s dreamed of holding down for years and he’s fired up to make his own mark on the program’s long and storied history.

“It feels great. I’ve been waiting on it for Lord knows how long. I knew as soon as I entered third grade and started playing football, started playing quarterback, I knew I wanted to be a starter. It feels amazing,” Wright said. “It’s unexplainable. I’ve been waiting on it, and waiting on it and waiting on it. Now the time is here and it’s the last ride. I’ve got to do what I’ve got to do.”

This is actually Wright’s second year as WC’s starter, but the first time he’s entering the season in that role. He began 2021 as the back-up to Hartley Sullivan before ascending to the top of the depth chart a month into the season.

Wright played all but one series in the Region 3-6A opener against Oak Grove, started the following week against Brandon, and then took nearly every snap until he hurt his ribs in the second half of a playoff loss to Brandon in November.

Wright passed for 1,238 yards and nine touchdowns to help Warren Central rip off five straight wins down the stretch. The streak included a 30-21 upset of D’Iberville in the first round of the Class 6A playoffs.

Warren Central coach Josh Morgan said Wright provided a spark to the offense that grew into a flame as he got more comfortable. Six of Wright’s 18 passes against Oak Grove and Brandon covered 30 yards or more, and the Vikings scored 30 points or more in four of those five late-season wins.

Wright also threw only five interceptions in 151 pass attempts. At one point he went more than 80 attempts without an interception.

“He handled it very well,” Morgan said. “When he got comfortable, I think that was a big part of our run as well. There’s no question about it. He changed our offense.”

With nine full games now under his belt, Morgan added that Wright should fully break out in 2022.

“Usually when you have a player who has that experience his junior year, you can look for really big things that senior year. The game starts slowing down for him and it makes a big difference,” Morgan said.

Besides having a big arm, Wright has shown he’s got a lot of the intangibles to be a great quarterback.

He led a game-winning drive in the final two minutes of a pivotal 3-0 win over Pearl, bounced back from a rough start in a 31-21 win vs. Meridian that clinched a playoff berth, and showed some toughness on the occasional running play.

“I feel like I lead the team pretty well whenever we get down. When we’re needing some boost I feel like I pick everybody up pretty well,” Wright said. “If the game’s on the line and it’s third down and three and we try to throw something and it’s not there, I’m going to try to do whatever I’ve got to do and sacrifice my body to get us back in the game.”

Although he’d rather not see his quarterback take unnecessary risks, Morgan praised him for bouncing right back up when he does.

“He’s a good competitor. Tough. He’s one of those guys who will lower his shoulder and get you a first down. He doesn’t mind putting his body on the line, and our kids know that too,” Morgan said. “When you have a quarterback that plays that way it’s really contagious. That’s the kind of team we want to be anyway, so he really fits the idea of a Warren Central quarterback.”

Why shouldn’t he? It’s a spot he’s been preparing for his whole life. And now it’s his turn to lead the Vikings to another great season.

“I’m so ready,” Wright said. “I feel like we’ve got a really good shot this year to put it all out there. It’s a tough district, but there’s nobody in 6A we can’t compete with.”

2022 Warren Central schedule
Aug. 26 — r-Forest Hill, 8 p.m.
Sept. 2 — Vicksburg, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 9 — at Germantown, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 16 — Open date
Sept. 23 — *at Oak Grove, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 30 — *Brandon, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 7 — *at Northwest Rankin, 7 p.m.
Oct. 14 — *at Pearl, 7 p.m.
Oct. 21 — *Terry, 7 p.m.
Oct. 28 — *at Petal, 7 p.m.
Nov. 3 — *Meridian, 7 p.m.
r-Red Carpet Bowl, at Warren Central
*MHSAA Region 3-6A games

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 139-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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