Vikings look sharp, shut out Northwest Rankin in spring game

Published 9:51 am Thursday, May 9, 2024

Warren Central coach Josh Morgan says his football team “does it differently” than a lot of programs when it comes to spring practice.

The end result, though, looks pretty similar to what everyone is accustomed to.

Quarterback Nash Morgan completed 17 of 24 passes for 211 yards and two touchdowns, Roosevelt Harris had an 89-yard interception return for a touchdown, and the Vikings finished the first phase of their 2024 campaign by beating Northwest Rankin 24-0 in their spring game Wednesday.

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“You know how spring is. We do it differently. It’s really important to us. The kids know that. It was good to see us get a whole lot of reps for a whole lot of guys and how we organized things tonight,” Josh Morgan said. “I was pleased with it from top to bottom and how we finished it.”

Warren Central had a 9-3 record last season and reached the second round of the MHSAA Class 6A playoffs. It got its first win of 2024 with a balanced effort that featured big plays on both sides of the ball.

The Vikings had five plays of 19 yards or more, including both touchdowns. Michael Hall turned a short pass from Nash Morgan into a 60-yard touchdown in the first quarter, and on the opening series of the third Jadarius Miller caught a slant pass for a 24-yard TD.

Miller’s touchdown came after Hall caught a 33-yard pass on the first play of the third quarter. Hall finished with five receptions for 99 yards and a touchdown. Miller had three receptions for 35 yards and Teryn Green caught three for 49.

In all, the Vikings had seven players catch a pass. They had 287 yards of total offense in the three-quarter game. Gavin Davenport was the Vikings’ leading rusher, with 50 yards on only five carries.

The second- and third-string players ran series between quarters, and the Vikings excelled there as well. Backup QB Harber Williams threw two touchdown passes, to Chester Savage and Landon Lumpkin, during that part of the scrimmage.

Nash Morgan, a sophomore, said he felt a lot more comfortable running the offense as he heads toward his second season as the starting quarterback. He completed 63.6 percent of his passes last season, for 1,264 yards and eight touchdowns.

“It’s a whole year of experience,” Nash Morgan said. “It’s more knowing what to do and what’s going on, and where to go with the ball and what to do.”

The Vikings’ defense and special teams were sharp as well. Kicker Jonah Artman booted a 41-yard field goal in the second quarter and was 3-for-3 on PATs.

The defense contributed points as well, with Harris’ interception return that turned a red zone opportunity for Northwest Rankin into points going the other way.

Harris intercepted a pass into traffic over the middle, broke through a pack of players around the 25-yard line, and took it to the end zone for an 89-yard touchdown return that made it 17-0 with 24 seconds left in the second quarter.

“Coach Josh always teaches us technique, and if the quarterback is throwing to the middle it’s a slant. I just trust him with the technique,” Harris said. “And once I get the ball, it’s lights out. I ain’t getting caught.”

Harris’ interception was one of three turnovers forced by the Vikings’ defense. Ricky Neal had another pick, and Austin Hughes recovered a fumble on a high snap over the head of Northwest Rankin’s quarterback.

Warren Central’s limited Northwest Rankin to 180 total yards, and had three stops on fourth down. Larry Reynolds had a sack as well.

“It was everybody. I don’t know how many different receivers caught balls. We had a couple of guys making interceptions, making tackles, Jonah getting points in the kicking game,” Josh Morgan said. “It was just a collective and a really clean performance for the spring. I’m excited about the season.”

Warren Central will now segue into its summer workout period that begins in June, leading up to the season-opening Red Carpet Bowl against Clinton on Aug. 30.

Josh Morgan was happy with not only the win in the spring game, but the way his team approached the entire month leading up to it. He said it’s a good sign of things to come.

“It’s all about your approach to it. We’re going to put a lot into it. It’s like mini-camp or a bowl practice, however you want to look at it, but we’re going to finish this thing at a game and it’s going to be evaluated and it’s going to mean a lot,” Josh Morgan said. “They took heed to that. I thought they handled it from a businesslike approach, which is good to see from a mature football team.”

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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