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Heidelberg goes for Class A title versus Tri-Count

By By Rocky Higginbotham/The Meridian Star
HEIDELBERG For the second time in a month, the Heidelberg Academy Rebels knocked off arch-rival Wayne Academy, this time with a North State title on the line.
The Rebels' reward? A chance at the school's fourth state championship. Unfortunately, Heidelberg will get just five days to prepare for the contest.
Heidelberg (12-1) goes up against Tri-County Academy Thursday afternoon at 1 p.m. at Mississippi College's Robinson-Hale Stadium for the Mississippi Private School Association's Class A state championship.
Still, even with the short work week, HA coach Tom Lewis says he's really more worried about the game's starting time.
Lewis and this Rebel team hasn't been to this point, but Heidelberg and Tri-County Academy have been in this situation plenty of times. HA won Class A titles in 1980 and 1981 when Lewis was an assistant, then captured the state crown again in 1994 when Lewis was the team's head coach.
This season, coach Bo Milton's Rebels have seemingly gotten better and better as the year has progressed. In fact, Tri-County hasn't given up a single point in three playoff games thus far.
What impresses Lewis most about Tri-County is the fact that TCA beat Wayne 27-19 earlier in the year. Heidelberg beat Wayne twice (7-6 and 25-14), and Lewis said the two-time defending state champion Jaguars were the best team his squad had played thus far.
That, the Rebels have, using a ball-control offense of their own and minimizing the turnovers. Those attributes come with experience, and Heidelberg has plenty.
Senior quarterback Derek McKee has thrown for more than 1,000 yards as the team's veteran quarterback, with Scott McInnis and the Rebel running backs his favorite targets.
Heidelberg will also go into the game relatively healthy. Wide receiver/defensive back Jay Heard is the only starter who is guaranteed to not play.
Rocky Higginbotham is a sports writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail him at rhigginbotham@meridianstar.com.

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