Local preps to be tested in 2001 openers
By By Jeff Byrd/The Meridian Star
Aug. 29, 2001
The 2001 season openers for Lauderdale's five county schools is just two days away.
The West Lauderdale Knights will be at home against Florence, a club that advanced to the the third round of the 4A playoffs last year.
The Northeast Lauderdale Trojans head down the highway to face Heidelberg. The Southeast Lauderdale Tigers are also on the road venturing to Coffeeville.
Clarkdale, who broke a 39-game losing streak in 2000, will seek their first winning season in 21 years when they open at home against Edinburg.
At Lamar Academy, long-time Meridian High Head Coach Mac Barnes will make his debut in the Mississippi Private School Association when the Raiders travel to Wayne Academy.
All kickoffs are set for 7:30 p.m.
Florence at West Lauderdale
The Knights may have their hands full against a Florence team that won 11 games last year. The Eagles return standout running back Cory Jones.
The Knights went 6-6 last year and earned an appearance in the Grenada Lakes Bowl against Charleston. McCain says that are ready to continue the success beginning on Friday.
Lamar at Wayne Academy
Barnes won 168 games and led Meridian to a State 5A Championship in 1985 and in 1990. He will try for win No. 1 with the Raiders at Wayne Academy.
Last year, Wayne went 9-4 and advanced to the third round of the Class Academy A playoffs. They opened the season with a 28-14 win over the Raiders in Meridian.
Lamar Academy is coming off a 2-9 season from a year ago. They will be young with several sophomores starting on both sides of the line.
The veteran coach said the Raiders have made steady progress since the final pre-season scrimmage at East Rankin Academy.
Consequently, the Raiders will have only one player who will have to go both ways in the opener.
Wayne Academy will present a mystery to Barnes and his staff.
As for Lamar, they will run the option out of an I-set but with multiple variations. They will run a 4-3 on defense.
Northeast Lauderdale at Heidelberg
New coach Andy Stevens makes his debut at Northeast with a trip to Heidelberg on Friday.
Stevens, a former standout quarterback at Amory, coached last season at well-known 3A-4A power Mendenhall. He is hoping to build a winning tradition at Northeast.
Heidelberg, which went 4-6 last year, is said to be very athletic according to Stevens.
The unit will be led by senior quarterback Steven Dyess. Rod Smith, a sophomore, is the backup, but he will be on the field in some skilled capacity.
Edinburg at Clarkdale
Clarkdale nearly ended their losing streak against Edinburg last year on the road. The Eagles pulled out a 13-12 decision over the Bulldogs to extend their misery to 39 games.
Clarkdale, though, bounced back with a 26-8 win over West Lincoln to snap the streak.
This year, Clarkdale looks turn a homefield advantage into a quick start when Edinburg visits for a return match on Friday.
Southeast Lauderdale at Coffeeville
Southeast opens the season against a new opponent in Coffeeville. Last year, Coffeeville went 2-9 as a 2A school. They have dropped to 1A and are in Region 2.
For Southeast, Coffeeville ranks as the first of four new foes on the 2001 schedule. The Tigers were 2-8 last year. Head Coach Dwane Taylor said his team made a lot of mistakes in their final pre-season scrimmage, but are ready to play a real game, nonetheless.
The Tigers will pin their hopes behind standout quarterback Ben Reed.
As for Coffeeville, Taylor said the Pirates are big upfront.
Jeff Byrd is a sports writer for The Meridian Star. Call him at 693-1551, or e-mail him at email@example.com.