With lineups set, Warren Central works on chemistry during summer

Published 4:00 am Saturday, July 6, 2024

For Warren Central, the first half of the summer was not about the X’s and the O’s, but rather the Jimmys and the Joes — and the Jaydens, Jonahs, Johns and everyone else whose name does not begin with a J.

Head coach Josh Morgan said he and his staff had a pretty good handle on their lineups coming out of spring practice, so they took the month of June to focus on building team chemistry and other intangibles.

“This is where we get to build our team and our leadership and work ethic as we’re building the body. We’re training the body, the soul, the mind, the spirit and really getting ready to make this run,” Morgan said.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

Getting to this point as a program is a rare level of football Nirvana that Warren Central has earned. It has won at least eight games, including one in the postseason, each of the past four seasons. Its streak of 12 consecutive playoff appearances is one of the longest among current MHSAA Class 6A teams.

Morgan is entering his 15th season as the Vikings’ head coach, long enough to have players on his roster who weren’t born when he was hired. The consistency and stability in the program has helped everyone know where they all stand, rather than chaotic periods of change and adjustment. Morgan said it’s something he appreciates, and is taking advantage of.

“We’re sitting in a good spot. We feel like we know who’s going to be where, what they’re playing, and we’re working on fine-tuning our skills,” Morgan said. “But, at this point in time, we get to focus on a different aspect. We feel very comfortable and confident in where we’re sitting at right now.”

The Vikings, and every other team in Mississippi, took the past week off for a “dead week” mandated by the MHSAA and MAIS during which no offseason actitivies can take place. It served as a timely divider between the first month of summer workouts and the second.

During July, the Vikings will start to install their playbook and work on conditioning, Morgan said. Preseason practice officially begins Aug. 5, but there is no real offseason any more.

“July is a little bit different than June,” Morgan said. “July will be more conditioning and getting ready to play in 100-degree weather, and play in hopefully 15 games. And we’ll be zoning in on our schematic stuff and execution.”

The Vikings will see their first live action on Aug. 23, with a preseason scrimmage at Northwest Rankin. The season opener is a week later in the Red Carpet Bowl at home vs. Clinton, at 8 p.m. on Aug. 30.

Warren Central finished 9-3 last season and reached the second round of the Class 6A playoffs for the fourth year in a row. With 16 starters returning and the wheels of the machine in motion, Morgan said he’s excited about what this year’s roster can do.

“We have a great senior class that’s done a really good job. Most great teams have great leadership and self-accountability, so we’re really pleased with where we are right now,” Morgan said. “We’re excited about this group. We’ve got a really good core coming back. They’ve done a good job.”

All games start at 7 p.m., unless noted
Aug. 30 — r-Clinton, 8 p.m.
Sept. 6 — Pearl
Sept. 13 — at Germantown
Sept. 20 — at Brandon
Sept. 27 — Madison Central
Oct. 4 — Open date
Oct. 11 — *at Ridgeland
Oct. 18 — *at Vicksburg
Oct. 25 — *at Columbus
Nov. 1 — *Neshoba Central
Nov. 8 — *Callaway
r-Red Carpet Bowl, at Warren Central
*MHSAA Region 2-6A games

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.

email author More by Ernest