Vikings start Region 3-6A schedule with showdown vs. Oak Grove

Published 3:00 pm Thursday, September 22, 2022

In early November, players, coaches and football fans across Mississippi will carefully examine playoff scenarios for their teams. A lot of what those will look like for Warren Central will be determined by what happens in the next eight days.

The Vikings (3-0) go on the road to face Oak Grove (3-1) on Friday night, and then host No. 1 Brandon next week. The outcomes of the first two games of the MHSAA Region 3-6A schedule will determine whether they are in the driver’s seat or making up lost ground as the bulk of the season unfolds.

“That’s our schedule, and that’s what we have to be ready for,” Warren Central head coach Josh Morgan said. “It’s just a big-time opponent right out of the gate — but it’s the same for them. They’ve got us, too. It’s just a really important game that carries a lot of weight.”

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Oak Grove has only won one Region 3-6A championship since 2006, but has nonetheless been the gold standard for the South half of Class 6A. It has played in five Class 6A championship games in nine years — it won in 2013 and 2020 — and reached the semifinals last season.

The Warriors have had three of their first four games in 2022 decided by a total of 11 points, but Morgan said they haven’t lost a step. Junior quarterback Anthony Maddox has thrown for 958 yards and nine touchdowns already.

“They haven’t lost anything,” Morgan said. “They’re breaking in a new quarterback. But they’re good across the board. I can’t find any weak spots in them. We’ve got a lot of respect for them and we’re going to have to play really good to win.”

Although every region game is important, the ones against contenders like Oak Grove and Brandon (3-0) are even more crucial. Head-to-head results are the first tiebreaker, so games against the other frontrunners essentially count twice in the standings. A win provides some margin for error. A loss leaves you needing help in addition to winning.

“It carries a lot of weight. It’s going to be one of those teams that’s in contention for a district championship and it’s very important we start off on a good note with it to keep ourselves in the hunt and in the conversation,” Morgan said.

Warren Central is no stranger to playing close games this season. Two of its first three games have required a defensive stop at the goal line in the final minute to escape with a win.

Morgan said being in those pressure-packed situations early will pay dividends down the road.

“We’ve had three different games, so those have been good,” Morgan said. “We’ve been in some different situations, been in some close ballgames against some different types of offenses and different types of defenses. I feel like we’ve seen a lot. The more we see, the better.”

Warren Central had an open date last week, which Morgan said helped the team catch its breath and heal up a bit before what figures to be its two toughest — and perhaps most important — games of the season.

“We had a good week. We worked on us and our opponent and got some guys healthy,” Morgan said. “We got everything we needed to get done. I felt like it was productive and I feel good going into this week.”

FRIDAY’S AREA GAMES
Games starting at 7 p.m.
St. Aloysius at Cathedral (Radio: 101.3 FM)
PCA at Wilkinson Christian (Radio:104.5 FM)
Tallulah Academy at Prairie View
Deer Creek at Briarfield Academy
Centreville Academy at Central Hinds
Madison Parish at Ferriday
Games starting at 7:30 p.m.
Warren Central at Oak Grove (Radio: 105.5 FM)
Port Gibson at Crystal Springs
Clinton at Germantown

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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