Wayne County heads to Moss Point
By By Richard Dark/The Meridian Star
WAYNESBORO The Wayne County War Eagles have raised a couple of eyebrows, as many followers of high school football knew that with the arrival of head coach Bobby Hall, the War Eagles would be improved after years of losing seasons.
But there are few that expected them to rip through the regular season with a 9-2 record, beat Meridian, finish second in Division 3-5A and win a playoff game.
But that's exactly what Hall's bunch has done, as the 10-2 War Eagles head to the Mississippi Gulf Coast Friday night and prepare to take on tradition-rich Moss Point which is No. 2 in the state and holders of a 10-1 record.
Kickoff for the contest in Tiger Stadium at Billy Miller Field is slated for 7:30 p.m.
Jerry Alexander's Tigers have been equally impressive this season, notching wins over not only the state's elite but faring well against the top teams in Louisiana as well.
The Tigers toppled 1999 Class 5A champ Evangel Christian of Shreveport in the third week of the season, 35-20 and came within a hair of upsetting powerful West Monroe, losing 28-23 at home in week No. 8.
Alexander, like many, is quite impressed with this week's opponent, even though they are a bit unfamiliar with them.
The War Eagles and Tigers have faced three common opponents this season, with similar results.
Both squads pounded the Northeast Jones Tigers early in the year, with Moss Point blanking them 41-0 and Wayne County following suit, 42-7. Toward the end of the season, Hall's henchmen put down Jackson Provine in 3-5A action 34-0, while the Alexander's assault opened the playoffs last week with a 24-6 besting of the Rams. Last week, the War Eagles blistered Harrison Central in the opening round of the playoffs, 42-7. In week seven, Moss Point beat the Red Rebels to cap a six-game winning streak, 42-20.
Hall's defensive unit, whom he affectionately refers to as "bad hombres", will be charged with the task of stopping one of the top quarterbacks in the state in Moss Point's Damarius Bilbo. The defense is led by noseguard Willie Evans, Cornell Blakley and Lance Gandy.
Last week in the Tigers' win against Provine, Bilbo (6-3, 210) had a hand in all 24 of his team's points, and did so in impressive fashion. Bilbo who likes Georgia Tech and LSU passed for a touchdown, ran for two more, kicked a 47-yard field goal and three PATs.
Conversely, the War Eagles have their own big threat at quarterback in sophomore Akeem Lofton. Lofton took the controls following the War Eagles 12-6 loss to Laurel in week four, and the offensive machine for WCHS has hummed ever since. Last week, WCHS was led on offense by running back Michael McLaughlin with 74 yards on 15 carries.
Moss Point is an experienced squad with seven seniors starting on offense and six on defense. The remaining starters are all juniors.
Richard Dark is a sports writer for the Meridian Star. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.