Vikings’ defense comes up big again in win over Germantown

Published 1:03 am Saturday, September 10, 2022

By Brandon Shields
Special to The Vicksburg Post

MADISON — Warren Central has always been known for being a defensive team.

Friday night was no different.

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Treyvion Sanders returned an interception 99 yards for a game-clinching touchdown with 50 seconds remaining, and the Vikings held off Germantown 28-13 on Friday night behind a bend-but-don’t break defense combined with  a consistent running game.

The game was delayed an hour and 45 minutes due to weather and did not end until around 11:30 p.m.

“I thought we came out of the lightning delay focused and re-energized and making some stops early and taking the momentum,” Warren Central coach Josh Morgan said. “We wanted to do that and made a play at the end to win it and proud to see us pull off a hard fought win.”

Warren Central got a turnover on the third play of the game as Julien Demby recovered a fumble at the Germantown 20-yard line. Six plays later, Trey Hall scored on a 1-yard run to give the Vikings a 6-0 lead with 8:10 left in the first quarter. The PAT was no good.

Germantown responded with a 14-play drive capped off by a Jeremiah Washington 3-yard touchdown run with 2:38 left in the first quarter to give the Mavericks a 7-6 lead.

The lightning delay hit with five seconds left in the first quarter.

After the delay, Warren Central reclaimed a 14-7 lead with 54 seconds left until halftime as Darius Carter scored on a 3-yard run and Hall on a two-point conversion.

Warren Central extended its lead to 21-7 with 6:15 left in the third quarter on Eric Collins’ 56-yard touchdown run.

D.J. Gainwell scored on a 1-yard run for Germantown, and a failed extra point cut the margin to 21-13 with 7:26 left in the fourth quarter.

Germantown got the ball with 5:12 left to try to tie the game and got to the Warren Central 6-yard line. That was when Sanders intercepted a pass and raced 99 yards to the end zone with 50 seconds left to give the Vikings the 28-13 lead and seal the game.

“I saw the tight end slip out and just read it well and saw the pass and caught it and scored,” Sanders said. “Defense is what we’re known for, being a defensive team, and we were prepared and came away with the win.”

Morgan was pleased with his defense for the most part. Warren Central only allowed 291 yards. It was also the second week in row that the unit came up with a game-clinching stop in the final minute. The Vikings stopped Vicksburg’s game-tying two-point conversion try with 29 seconds left in last week’s 20-18 win.

“We talked about bringing some pressure to the quarterback and trying to get them to throw the ball in a hurry,” Morgan said. “Trey made a beat on the ball and made a play and I couldn’t be more proud of him.”

Collins had 75 rushing yards for Warren Central, nearly half of the 148 they had as a team.

Warren Central (3-0) won its ninth consecutive non-region game, a streak that started in 2020. It has an open date next week, and then travels to Oak Grove on Sept. 23 for its MHSAA Region 3-6A opener.

“We ran the ball well, but missed on some, but we will get better,” Morgan said. “We’re sitting in a good spot heading into district play and we’ve got to keep this momentum.”

Quarterback Drew McCluskey had 70 yards rushing and 91 passing to lead Germantown. The Mavericks (2-1) were held to just 106 rushing yards.

“I was proud of the kids to keep on fighting and we’re not settling for moral victories around here. I’ve got to do a better job of getting the team ready,” Germantown coach Russell Mitchell said. “Had a chance there at the end and thought we were, but they made more plays than us.”