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Cats try to rebound against Starkville

By By Jeff Byrd/The Meridian Star
Sept. 6, 2001
For the second straight week, the Meridian High Wildcats are up against a Top 10 team. On Friday, they head north to face perhaps the best team on their schedule in the Starkville Yellow Jackets.
Starkville lived up to their No. 2 Associated Press ranking by whipping perennial 4A power Louisville 21-2 last week. Meridian, meanwhile, stubbed its toe in a 32-19 loss to seventh ranked Laurel last week at Ray Stadium.
For Wildcats Head Coach Bill Sartin, the game film only confirmed his take on the opening game loss.
There were a number of positives from the Laurel game, primarily the play of the defense that held Laurel scoreless in the second half. The unit began to turn things around late in the first half following a solid goal-line stand that forced Laurel to settle for a field goal.
This week, the unit gets an even stiffer test. Starkville is loaded with speed on the flank in wide receivers Tee Milons, Willie Lee and Lynn Terry.
Pulling the trigger on the Yellow Jacket offense is quarterback DeAngelo Dantzler who passed for 217 yards against Louisville.
Terry had the biggest game of the group catching three passes for 125 yards. Milons, the younger brother of Alabama star receiver Freddie Milons, had two catches for 46 yards and a touchdown of 18 yards.
Starkville also mixed in 86 yards rushing behind running back Xavier Collins who had 74 yards off 10 carries. The Yellow Jackets finished with 303 yards in total offense.
The Jacket offensive line is paced by center Wesley Jones and tackles Rodiquez Perry and Lance Ferrin.
On defense, Starkville held Louisville to just 100 yards in total offense, including only 63 rushing. Janarrell Parks and Rod Williams are two of the main tacklers.
The Wildcats appeared to be in good spirits on Monday despite the opening game loss which snapped a 15-game home winning streak.
Meridian had some success on offense, mainly in the running game. Wingback Cardae Campbell broke loose on a 77-yard TD run and finished with 110 yards off eight carries. The remaining backs, however, had just 19 yards net.
Quarterback John Hays Compton struggled, completing only three of 15 passes for 34 yards. One of the throws was picked off and returned for a Laurel touchdown. The top receiver was Pierre Henderson who caught an 18-yarder.
The Wildcat defense was paced by C.C. Finley who was named the Player of the Week by The Star. Finley recovered a fumble in the endzone for a touchdown.
Collectively, the defense held Laurel to 72 yards rushing and 44 passing, most of which came on a 77-yard march in the first quarter.
Jeff Byrd is a sports writer for The Meridian Star. Call him at 693-1551, ext. 3235, or e-mail him at jbyrd@themeridianstar.com.