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franklin county times

Eight area teams have won state

By By Marty Stamper
Sept. 27, 2001
In some cases, region play has already begun in the 2001 football season and in others, it isn't very far down the road.
It's not too early to look at that p-word … playoffs. At least it's not too early if we look to the past.
Seven area schools have previously won Mississippi High School Activities Association state championships in football since they resumed in 1981.
The big winner in these parts since conferences were abandoned in favor of the playoffs has been the Louisville Wildcats.
Louisville has brought home the big gold ball five times with Class 4A state titles in 1985, 1986, 1991, 1993, and 1995.
The Meridian Wildcats won Class 5A state championships in 1985 and 1990, both times under current Lamar School head coach Mac Barnes.
Enterprise won back-to-back championships in 1986 and 1987, going a perfect 26-0 those two years. Amazingly, in 1986 the Bulldogs won in Class 1A and 1987 they won in Class 2A. Jud Gartman was the head coach both years.
Philadelphia won overall state titles in 1927 and 1928 when all schools played in the same classification and added the Class 2A championship in 1992 under head coach Herschel Smith. The 1927 title was later rescinded due to an ineligible player as the quarterback was nearly 23 years old. Players could be 21 in those days.
Forest won Class 3A championships in 1992, 1993, and 1999, all under former head coach Jack French.
Lake captured the Class 2A state championship in 1988 with a sparkling 13-0 season. Newton County head coach Jeff Breland was the assistant coach on that team.
Scott Central won the Class 1A state crown in 1999 under head coach Mickey Bounds.
The only state football championships in the Alabama High School Athletics Association won by an area school came in the 1998 and 1999 seasons when Southern Choctaw beat Lineville twice in the finals.
Southern Choctaw claimed a 16-6 win over Lineville in the 1998 championship contest and followed that with a 27-7 victory over Lineville in the 1999 title game.
Coaching Southern Choctaw both years was Larry Boykin.
Cats were Big 8 power
Before the state playoffs were re-instituted, many claimed the Big 8 Conference was the ultimate in Mississippi and that its winner was really the state champion.
That's certainly open to debate considering the success of schools like South Panola, Starkville, Warren Central, and West Point in the playoffs against former Big 8 teams.
Meridian was a wardaddy in the old Big Eight days as they won championships or co-championships in 1927 under N.C. Young; 1931, 1932, 1937, and 1940 under Jim Baxter; 1942 under Doby Bartling; 1943 under Obie Brown; 1959 under Dave Owens; 1963 under Claude Jennings; 1966 and 1967 under Bob Tyler; and 1978 and 1979 under Mac Barnes.
Marty Stamper is a sports writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail him at mstamper@themeridianstar.com or call him at 693-1551 ext. 3234.

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