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Louisville, Clarksdale renew 4A rivalry

By By Rocky Higginbotham/The Meridian Star
LOUISVILLE The Louisville Wildcats ruled the roost in Class 4A North State football for more than a decade.
But things changed when a different bunch of Wildcats from Clarksdale dropped from Class 5A a few years ago.
That's been the case the past three years. But Stanford's bunch will do its best to change that Friday.
For the fourth straight year, Louisville and Clarksdale will go head-to-head in the playoffs. The latest edition in the rivalry is set to kick off at 7:30 p.m. Friday in Clarksdale.
Coach Jesse Murphree's squad has dominated Louisville the past three seasons twice for the North State championship. Clarksdale, which won 4A titles in its first two years in the classification in 1997 and 98, was the state runnerup to Lawrence County last season.
Stanford says Clarksdale's domination of the other teams in 4A in recent years is due to one deciding factor: Speed.
Both Wildcats are blessed with speed again this season, and just like the last three meetings, this Louisville/Clarksdale matchup is being tabbed as one of the best in the state.
Clarksdale, ranked No. 4 in the state by The Associated Press and No. 1 by The Clarion-Ledger among 4A schools, is 11-1 with its only loss coming to nationally-ranked West Monroe, La.
Louisville is also 11-1, with its only loss coming to third-ranked and Class 5A Starkville.
It's hard to argue.
Louisville features a stingy defense and a three-headed monster on offense.
The defense is led by linebacker Marquez Ledbetter, who has 120 tackles, as well as defensive end Ken Triplett, who has 85 total stops. Free safety Adrienne Eiland has 70 tackles and six interceptions.
Offensively, Louisville looks to fullback Horace Glenn, quarterback Bryant Thomas and flanker Kentay Eiland.
Glenn, after a slow start, has caught fire and has 1,028 yards and 11 touchdowns on 131 carries. Thomas has thrown for 1,082 yards and 16 touchdowns, and he also has kept it 85 times for 873 yards and 10 more scores
Rocky Higginbotham is a sports writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail him at rhigginbotham@meridianstar.com.