Vikings gain valuable experience during non-region schedule
Published 3:00 pm Thursday, September 7, 2023
Like any coach, Warren Central’s Josh Morgan does not like losing. That doesn’t mean, however, that he can’t find some value in it.
Warren Central took its first loss of the season last week, 25-24 in overtime at Pearl. Although disappointing, Morgan said everything other than the result was exactly what he wanted in a non-region game.
“Experience is what I’m after,” Morgan said. “Just last Friday alone, the back-and-forth type situation is what a playoff game’s going to be like. It’s what big ballgames are going to be like. We got to be in that and experience that.
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“We got to experience a physical game against a very good opponent. We got to experience a hostile environment in a packed-out place. We got to experience overtime,” he continued. “The more we get to see, the more experience we get and situations we see and are able to learn from and grow from, is only going to make us better. That’s how we’re using this.”
Those sentiments apply to all five games on the Vikings’ non-region schedule, which continues this Friday night at home vs. Germantown (1-1). The process and progress toward the end goal — a region and hopefully state championship — is most important, and this week that includes weathering the first setback of the season.
“We need to make sure we respond the right way. That’s from getting better, and you can’t get better unless you address situations and things that need to be addressed head on,” Morgan said. “That’s really what this non-district schedule is about, is getting better — and we’ve got plenty to get better at.”
The positive takeaways from last week included a couple of items that seemed sluggish during a preseason jamboree vs. North Pike and the opener against Clinton.
Kicker Jonah Artman made his first field goal of the season, after missing three in the first two outings. The passing game also showed some explosiveness as the team rotates through quarterbacks Nash Morgan, Ryan Nelson and Maddox Lynch.
The three QBs were a combined 16-for-27 for 140 yards, with two touchdowns and one interception against Pearl. The yardage output was double what it was against Clinton.
Lynch threw a 35-yard touchdown pass to Jaylon Winters, and Morgan tossed a 40-yarder to Zack Evans.
Morgan, a freshman, saw most of the snaps and was 14-of-21 for 111 yards. He was 4-of-7 for 65 yards against Clinton.
“There’s going to be teams that try to take away certain things from you, so we’ve got to be able to be balanced. That was good to see,” Josh Morgan said. “Pearl was trying to take some things and leaving guys in one-on-one situations and not covering certain parts of the field. We were able to hit. We didn’t hit enough, but we had opportunities.”
Moving on to Germantown, Morgan expected another tough test. The Mavericks started the season with a 35-28 loss to Northwest Rankin, then clobbered Canton 54-20 last week.
Warren Central won 28-13 when the teams played last year, but Germantown had a chance to tie the game in the last two minutes. An interception at the goal line and a 98-yard touchdown return sealed the deal.
Finding those kinds of plays, Morgan said, will be the difference in winning, losing and improving as the Vikings move forward.
“When you’re playing somebody like we will be the next several weeks, that are equally as talented, you have to be better in situations, discipline and focus, and finding ways to win,” Morgan said. “At the end of the day, it’s all about making plays and we had chances to make plays and we didn’t (against Pearl). Those are big coaching points for this week.”
FRIDAY’S AREA GAMES
All games start at 7 p.m.
Porter’s Chapel at Humphreys Academy (Radio: 104.5 FM)
Germantown at Warren Central (Radio: 105.5 FM)
St. Aloysius at Tri-County (Radio: 101.3 FM)
Vicksburg at Natchez (Radio: 107.7 FM)
Union Christian at Tallulah Academy
Sharkey-Issaquena Academy at Kemper Academy
Bowling Green at Central Hinds
Port Gibson at Wilkinson County
Madison Parish at Northeast