Warren Central wins Region 2-6A title as Morgan gets No. 100

Published 12:31 am Saturday, October 28, 2023

JACKSON — Josh Morgan wanted to focus this week on winning the Region 2-6A championship, and not getting his 100th victory as Warren Central’s head coach.

They were a package deal, though, and the Vikings certainly celebrated both while also breathing a sigh of relief.

Warren Central rallied from 14 points down in the second half, and scored three touchdowns in the fourth quarter — the last on a 7-yard run by Eric Collins Jr. with only seven seconds remaining — to beat Callaway 27-20 on Friday.
Warren Central (7-2, 4-0 MHSAA Region 2-6A) clinched its first region title since 2004 and gave Morgan his milestone win.

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“It was not one of those games where you sit and reflect,” Morgan said with a laugh.

Morgan, in his 14th season leading his alma mater’s football program, now has a record of 100-65. He joins his father, Warren Central icon Robert Morgan, WC’s Lum Wright Sr., and St. Aloysius’ Joe Balzli as the only coaches to win 100 games with a Warren County high school.

“The district championship, so proud of that. The 100th win is a tribute to all of the wonderful coaches and former players that we’ve had come through here,” Morgan said.

More importantly, the Vikings ended a 19-year region championship drought. They tied for two league titles in 2013 and 2022, but officially finished third both times because of tiebreakers.

Friday’s victory made them the only team in Region 2-6A with four wins, with one game left. Neshoba Central (4-5, 3-1) is the only team that could tie them, and Warren Central owns the head-to-head tiebreaker by virtue of its 27-3 victory over the Rockets on Oct. 20.

Winning the region title guarantees Warren Central a home game in the first two rounds of the Class 6A playoffs that begin Nov. 10. It’ll finish the regular season on Thursday, Nov. 2, at home against Columbus.

“We’re focused on now and the present, and we’ll enjoy this,” Morgan said. “This sets us up, but it goes back to preparation and execution. We have to keep our heads down and keep coming to work.”

Warren Central won its fifth game in a row, but had to scratch and claw to get it done. Kantrell Thomas Jr. threw three touchdown passes to Jeremy Scott, and Callaway (4-6, 2-2) also recorded a safety off of a bad snap as it took a 14-0 lead with four minutes left in the third quarter.

Warren Central’s comeback started when Aden Greer scored on a 34-yard run with 3:35 to go in the third quarter. Maddox Lynch then had a 5-yard TD run with 8:50 left in the fourth to cut it to 14-13. The PAT was blocked.

A 35-yard TD pass from Thomas to Scott put Callaway ahead 20-13 — a two-point conversion try was no good — but Warren Central had the better finishing kick.

Collins broke a 58-yard touchdown run with four minutes to go, and after a defensive stop the Vikings got the ball in Callaway territory. They drove into field goal range, and then inside the 10-yard line in the final minute.

Offensive coordinator Rob Morgan called a simple run up the middle to center the ball for kicker Jonah Artman, but it didn’t quite go as planned. The offensive line got an outstanding push and Collins rode the pile all the way into the end zone for the go-ahead touchdown with seven seconds left.

After having a kick blocked earlier, Morgan was glad to score a touchdown.

“We had one timeout left and Rob called a power to the middle of the field. We blocked it well and E.J. ran hard,” Josh Morgan said. “It was a big play because they blocked one (kick) previously and a lot of things can go wrong.”

Callaway started its last possession at the 20-yard line and had time for two plays. The first was an incomplete pass, and the second was a run that got across midfield before the Vikings made the game-ending tackle.

“Callaway has really good athletes, and if it could go wrong it was going wrong. We made some adjustments at halftime, came out with urgency and got some things going, and had a whale of a fourth quarter. We started playing some good ball,” Morgan said. “It was one of those nights. We were able to get out of there with a win.”

• Columbus (1-9, 0-4 MHSAA Region 2-6A) at Warren Central (7-2, 4-0)
• Thursday, Nov. 2
• Radio: 105.5 FM

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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