Jaguars fall in title game
Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star
HITTING THE HOLE Wayne Academy's Shawn Dearmon is forced out of bounds by the Trinity defense.
By Jeff Byrd/The Meridian Star
Dec. 2, 2001
CLINTON One could say Wayne Academy's bid for a third state championship in four years was done in by bad field position. A special emphasis, however, should be put on the "bad field."
Trinity Episcopal of Natchez cashed in on a pair of opportunities thanks to Wayne Academy's bad field position to take the Mississippi Private School
Association's Academy A title here on Saturday afternoon at Robinson-Hale Stadium.
Offensive force Chad Ridley of Trinity scored both of his team's touchdowns in leading the Saints to the 14-7 victory. For Trinity, the championship was its second in school history and the first since 1989.
Wayne Academy finishes the season with an 11-2 record. The Jaguars were trying for their third title after winning the Class A crown in 1998 and 1999 on this same Robinson-Hale turf.
Following a two-day postponement due to inclement weather, the two teams squared off on a sunny Saturday afternoon on a rain-soaked and chopped up Mississippi College field.
Wayne Academy head coach Tom Boszor hoped to play a ball-hogging style of game and keep the ball away from the gifted Ridley. The Jaguars, however, struggled from the start getting just two first downs in the
opening half while turning the ball over twice on a pair of interceptions.
The Jaguars line had difficulty maintaining their blocks.
Ridley, a powerfully built 180-pounder, was able to slip his way to rushing touchdowns of 14 and one yards. The scores capped short drives of 27 and 22 yards.
and two TDs.
Fullback Kayne Troutman had an additional 83 yards on 16 carries. Trinity rushed for 172 yards compared to 127 for Wayne.
The tone was set early when Wayne quarterback Steven Wood saw his first pass of the game get intercepted by Ridley at the 35.
Trinity got nothing out of the break but good field position. Ridley punted away pinning the Jaguars inside their own seven.
Three run plays netted two yards and Cory Cochran was forced to punt. He could only get off a 27-yarder setting up Trinity at the WA 37.
This time it took just four plays for the Saints to get on the board. A key 14-yard late hit penalty gave Trinity a first down at the 14. Ridley then kept the ball around end for the touchdown. Mickey Stevens booted the PAT for a 7-0 lead with 7:12 left in the first quarter.
Six punts and a trade of interceptions would follow. The best the Jaguars did was get to the 49 following a 12-yard completion from Wood to Cory Cochran. They then punted, pinning the Saints inside their own five.
Trinity moved into scoring position and settled for a 37-yard field goal attempt on the last play of the half. Stevens' kick sailed wide left.
Wayne got the ball first to start the second half and it was more bad news. Wood was dropped for a 12-yard loss on third down. That set up a 20-yard punt which gave Trinity the ball at the Wayne 22.
Five plays later, Ridley, now playing tailback, dove in from the one. Stevens' kick made it 14-0 with 8:08 left in the game.
Wayne finally got in gear on the ensuing possession. A 27-yard scamper by Jacob Ferguson got the 65-yard march going.
A 24-yard halfback pass from Cochran to Barrett Tynes converted a third-and-17 at the Trinity 34. Cochran then scored on a 10-yard sweep. Jaret Duvall's kick cut the deficit to 14-7 with 5:35 left in the third quarter.
Ridley got a 42-yard run, his best of the day, on the next Trinity possession. But the Jaguars stiffened after that and forced a punt.
Taking over at their own six, Wayne put together its last good drive of the game picking up three first downs to midfield.
After a lateral pass netted five yards, Wayne faced a fourth-and-three at the 44. Boszor opted to punt.
Trinity took over at the 19 and on its first play got a 38-yard run by Ridley out of the Power-I.
Ridley's run swung field position back in Trinity's favor. It stayed that way for the final 10 minutes.
Wood suffered his third interception at midfield on Wayne's next possession. The Jaguars' last two chances in the final three minutes ended on fourth down incompletions.
Wayne finished with 200 yards in offense to Trinity's 184. Wood was five-of-16 passing for 49. Matt Brown had 53 yards rushing on 14 carries, while Cochran had 40 on 11 and Ferguson chipped in 38 on nine.
Jeff Byrd is a sports writer for the Meridian Star. He can be reached at 693-1551 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.