Bad weather doesn't get in Meridian's way
SHOUTING INSTRUCTIONS – Meridian High School head football coach Ed Stanley gives encouragement to his team during a recent game. The Wildcats play host to No. 1 ranked Wayne County on Friday night. Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star
By Jeff Byrd / staff writer
Sept. 27, 2002
Tropical storm Isidore dropped a lot of rain on the Meridian area Wednesday and Thursday, but it didn't put a stop to Meridian High's preparation for tonight's clash against top-ranked Wayne County at Ray Stadium.
Kickoff for the Division 5-5A opener for both clubs is set for 7:30 p.m.
Wayne County comes in with a 4-0 record highlighted by an offense that is averaging 34.7 points per game. The War Eagles own wins over previously No. 1 ranked Vicksburg, (28-13), Mendenhall (35-14), Laurel (42-17) and last week's 34-17 win at Pascagoula.
Meridian head coach Ed Stanley, whose team picked up its first win last week at Tupelo 17-3, says the War Eagles presents his team with its sternest test of the season.
Wayne County uses a punishing ground game triggered by quarterback Akeem Lofton. The senior rushed for 151 yards and passed for 84 more last week in Pascagoula.
For the season, Lofton has rushed for 472 yards and passed for 205.
The War Eagles have other threats as well. Tailback Michael McLaughlin has 383 yards rushing while Jerod Sims and J.J. Taylor can each take up the slack. Taylor had 177 yards against Pascagoula.
Wayne County head coach Marcus Boyles credits his team's line.
The War Eagle offensive line, which has paved the team to rushing 311.2 yards per game, consists of tackles Keyon Harris (285) and Jerry Pitts (235), guards Johnny Walker (235) and Jeremy Hudson (260) and center Jonathan McMichael (235).
Meridian, 1-3, will try to counter with a team Stanley says is improving each week.
The Wildcats are coming off their best game of the season in the 17-3 win at Tupelo. Meridian rushed for a season high 159 yards against the Wave.
The Wildcats were able to spend Wednesday's practice indoors at the Popular Springs United Methodist Church.
The availability of quarterback Ken Mitts will remain a game time decision. Anthony Brown, who ran for 53 yards last week, would start if Mitts can't go.
Mitts has thrown for 420 yards this season. The top Meridian receivers are Courtney Lynch, D.J. Loyd, Keith Ivy and Jonathan Byrd.
Cordae Campbell and Fred Patton key the ground game.
The Wildcat defense is paced by linebacker Lamarace Tucker, defensive end Ryan Kimbrough and linebacker Broderick Coleman.
Meridian will be back on the student section side line this week. For the first two home games, Meridian lined up on the pressbox sideline.
Wildcat games can be heard live on 105.7 FM.