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Meridian ranked No. 12 in prep poll

By Staff
From staff &wire reports
Aug. 28, 2001
The Meridian High School Wildcats weren't listed in the Top 10 of the preseason AP Prep poll, but two of the teams that they compete against in Region 3-5A were.
Meridian, which finished last season with a 9-3 record and a playoff berth, was ranked No. 12 in the state by the poll of sports writers from across the state. The Wildcats are gearing up for their season opener Friday night at home against the Laurel Golden Tornadoes.
Meanwhile, Region 3 rival Brandon was ranked No. 1 in the state while Wayne County was tabbed No. 6.
Football season gets under way this week in East Mississippi and West Alabama. In games involving schools from Lauderdale County, Lamar visits Wayne County, Northeast Lauderdale is at Heidelberg High School, West Lauderdale hosts Florence and Southeast Lauderdale travels to Coffeeville.
In games involved Clarke County schools, Quitman High School hosts Neshoba Central while Enterprise hosts Union.
In games involving Newton County teams, Newton High School hosts rival Lake on Thursday night, Newton County High School is at Forest, and Newton Academy hosts Central Holmes. In Kemper County, the Wildcats of Kemper County High School visit Nanih Waiya while Kemper County Academy travels to Calhoun Academy.
Brandon No. 1
Brandon starts the season with a new quarterback and the top spot in The Mississippi Associated Prep Top 20.
Jerious Norwood, who ran for 2,291 yards and 31 touchdowns last season, has been moved from tailback to quarterback by Bulldogs coach Dan Davis.
Starkville holds the No. 2 spot with nine starters from last year's 12-2 team coming back.
Defending 5A champion Moss Point finished last season No. 1 led by quarterback Damarius Bilbo. Despite having to replace the dynamic Bilbo, the Tigers begin the season ranked third.
Clarksdale, which has played in the Class 4A title game each of the last four seasons, is No. 4.
No. 5 South Panola plays at Moss Point to start the season with a matchup of perennial powers.
Wayne County is No. 6 and Warren Central is No. 7. No. 8 Madison Central was last year's preseason No. 1. No. 9 Clinton was the Class 5A runner-up in 2000.
Jackson Provine rounds out the top 10.
Booneville, the defending 2A champs, have moved up to 3A, leaving Ackerman as the top team in The Little 10 to start the season.
Defending 1A champion Mize is No. 2 followed by Eupora, Taylorsville and Water Valley.