Stanley hopes for rebound
By By Tony Krausz/assistant sports editor
July 27, 2003
Meridian High School football coach Ed Stanley already has one date circled on his calender for the upcoming season.
The second-year coach is looking forward to the Wildcats' Sept. 26 matchup against Hattiesburg at home.
The game is Meridian's first district contest, and the team is looking to rebound from last season's 3-8 record.
The home game against Hattiesburg will be followed by the school's homecoming contest against district-rival Natchez on Oct. 3.
This will be the only time the Wildcats will play back-to-back home games during the 2003 season.
After Natchez, the Wildcats will hit the road for what the coach is calling the toughest part of the season. Meridian travels to Picayune on Oct. 10 and to Oak Grove on Oct. 17 for two more conference contests.
The back-to-back district road games start an end stretch for the Wildcats in which the team will play four of its last five games away from home.
After taking on Brandon at home on Oct. 24, Meridian closes the season on the road with trips to Hancock and Northwest Rankin.
The final stretch away from the Queen City will be difficult for the Wildcats, but Stanley said that is just the way the schedule worked out this year.
Meridian will prepare for the upcoming season with alternating home and away non-district contests, that include two new teams on the schedule from last year.
The Wildcats face their first new foe in the season's kickoff game at home against Clinton.
Stanley said he was able to watch Clinton play during a spring jamboree and both teams were looking for another game to fill out their 11-game schedules.
Meridian's other new foe will be St. Martin on Sept. 19. The Wildcats will play the Yellowjackets on the road.
Along with the new opponents, Stanley said people will see a different team from last season's squad.
The Wildcats have strong team speed and a dangerous offensive threat in place kicker Andrew Gambrell, who Stanley called, "a big-time weapon."
Meridian will also bring more strength to the field and a commitment to the plan set out by the sophomore coach.