Meridian falls again; now 1-6
By By Dwayne Bremer/ Special to The Star
October 13. 2001
KILN A week after losing to the No. 1 team in the state by two points, the Meridian Wildcats dropped another hard fought defensive struggle to the Hancock Hawks Friday night.
The Wildcats (1-6), moved the ball well, but turnovers and mistakes in the red zone led to a 17-0 defeat.
The Hawks (5-2) earned their first ever victory over the Wildcats, and improved their Region 2-5A record to 2-1.
The Wildcat defense forced the issue early, as a sack by Dominick Walker forced a Hancock fumble that the Wildcats pounced on at the Hawks 25.
The Wildcats picked up a first down behind the running of Cardae Campbell, who tallied 97 yards on 18 carries for the game. The drive stalled and a fumble by Fred Patton was recovered by Jed Duke of the Hawks to quell the scoring chance.
The Wildcat defense dominated the rest of the first half, and with 6:46 to go in the second quarter the Wildcat offense put together their best drive of the game.
Meridian drove 78 yards in 13 plays. Campbell rushed for 34 yards and Patton got 31 yards on the drive that reached the Hawks' five-yard line. The Wildcats did not take advantage of their hard work, however, as Andrew Gambrell missed a 24-yard field goal with only seconds to go in the half.
The Hawks carried the momentum over to the second half, putting together an 86-yard drive to open the third quarter. The Hawks offensive line led the way for Ervin Jackson and Ricky Underwood moving the ball downfield. The Hawks converted the first scored of the game at the 6:29 mark of the third, as Chase Sackett booted a 29-yard field goal.
Things started going downwards from there for the Wildcats. Ken Mitts fumbled on the Wildcats first play after the kickoff, and the Hawks recovered at the 38.
Three plays later, the Hawks hit paydirt, as Brandon Necaise connected with David Brown for a 24-yard touchdown pass. Sackett's extra point made the score 10-0.
Meridian took over at the 40, and started giving the ball to Campbell. Campbell spurred the offense with a 29-yard run, and two, five-yard runs. Facing a third-and-seven at the Hawks 16, Patton got the call, but a hard hit by Ervin Jackson forced a fumble that Charles Bolden fell on at the 10 for the Hawks.
The Hawks put the game away late, driving 10 plays and 50 yards for their final score. Brown scored his second touchdown of the game on 14 yards out with just 2:50 to play. Sackett's extra point made the score 17-0.
The Wildcats tried to make a comeback, but sacks by Steve Gudios and Matt Rayborn closed the door on the Wildcats.
The Hawks would run out the clock.
Patton chipped in with 60 yards on 15 carries for the Wildcats, and Mitts was 4-for-11 in the passing department for 31 yards.
On defense Lamarace Tucker and Walker had two sacks each. Brennen Vaughn and Justin Mardis had eight tackles each.
The Hawks were led by Brown who rushed for 112 yards on 10 carries.