Heidelberg, Wayne set to square off for title
By By Jeff Byrd / staff writer
Nov. 14, 2002
Heidelberg has had Wayne Academy's number in the last three meetings between the arch-rival MPSA Academy A teams.
The Rebels of head coach Tom Lewis has beaten the Wayne Academy Jaguars in the last three meetings including a 21-7 decision three weeks ago in the regular season finale. That win handed Heidelberg the District 3-A Championship for the second straight year.
Following two weeks of MPSA A playoffs, the same two squads have made it back to face each other for the North State A Championship game on Friday night in Heidelberg. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
The winner of the North State title advances to the MPSA Academy A State Championship game set for next Thursday at Robinson-Hale Stadium on the Mississippi College campus in Clinton. The North State champ will face either defending A champion Trinity Episcopal (10-2) out of Natchez or Prentiss Christian (11-1). Those two are playing Friday in Prentiss.
Wayne Academy coach Johnny Walker felt his team would get another shot at the Rebels after the week 10 loss.
It wasn't easy. The Jaguars were down 20-13 with 4:56 to go against unbeaten Strider Academy last week in Webb.
Matt Brown's 12-yard TD run made it 20-19. Walker then had to decide whether to tie the game or go for two and the lead.
Garet James made the two-point conversion to put the Jaguars up 21-20. Strider reached the Jaguar 30 but a fumble ended the threat.
Meanwhile at West Helena, Ark., Heidelberg was grinding out a 14-0 second round win over Desoto School, the team the Jaguars beat last year in the North State A final.
Heidelberg got a pair of 4-yard TD runs from quarterback Brooks Lewis and running back Jeremy Eason. Mason Key made a pair of PAT kicks.
Now, the Rebels must beat the Jaguars for the second time this season and the fourth time in a row. Heidelberg handed Wayne one of only two losses last year in a 35-0 decision. Then two years ago, Heidelberg upended Wayne 25-14 to end the Jaguars' two-year reign as Academy A champs.
Friday marks the sixth straight year, Wayne has advanced to the North State A title game. Heidelberg, on the otherhand, has four state championships including the 2000 title.
Walker says a key for his team this time against Heidelberg is turnovers.
The Rebels first score last week was set up by a fumble recovery at the Desoto five by Brody Bustin. Blake Bass also had an interception.
The Rebels are led by senior Brannon Sims who is arguably the team's top player. Sims, a 6-foot-4, 228-pound nose guard/ tackle, is being looked at by Ole Miss, State and U.S.M. as a linebacker or defensive end.
Heidelberg also uses a rotation system on offense that keeps players fresh for the second half.
The Rebels will use four backs during a course of the game. Eason, Bustin, Brent Welch and Chris Kittrell will all get work.
Linemen Chandler Henry, Sims, Raymond Taormina, Nick Patrick, Mason Key, Tyler Maples, Ryan Aultman, and Zane Windham all get their time on the line.
Both teams operate out of multiple sets on offense