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franklin county times

Prep Notebook: South Panola, Seminary hold on to top AP spots

By Staff
October 19, 2004
From combined reports
A relatively upset-free weekend means this week's Associated Press Top 20 high school football poll looks much like last week's.
The only highly ranked team to drop significantly is South Pike, which fell five spots to No. 11 after a 27-21 overtime loss to Brookhaven.
South Panola, Wayne County and West Jones remained the top three teams in the poll, which was released Monday. Meridian moved into a tie with Gulfport for fourth place after knocking Oak Grove from the poll with a 35-21 win.
The Little 10 also looks nearly identical to last week's.
The top three teams Seminary, Weir and Bruce held steady in spots 1-3. No. 4 Mize and fifth-ranked Lumberton switched spots from last week.
Scott Central is again sixth, followed by O'Bannon and Simpson Academy. Union and West Bolivar are again tied for ninth.
Seminary received nine of a possible 18 first-place votes. Weir was voted first on four ballots, Bruce received two first-place votes and Mize, Scott Central and O'Bannon received one apiece.
Union is tied for No. 9 in the poll.
The Associated Press
Banged up Wildcats
A few players on the Meridian High football roster are feeling the effects of a long season.
Running back Cordera Eason is healing from an injured right ankle, which has him running between 75-85 percent efficiency according to head coach Ed Stanley.
Defensive lineman Jeremy Finley is also playing with a banged up ankle, and Rashad Byrd has a shoulder injury. Cornerback Jamie Hill has a strained muscle in his lower back, and offensive lineman Chris Spencer is playing with an injured knee.
Stanley said none of the injuries are serious, and he doesn't expect any players to miss games over the last three weeks of the regular season.
"We are a little nicked up right now," Stanley said. "We want to make sure we are taking care of these guys and get them rehabed."
Tony Krausz
And the winner is…
Dale Henry won the Wildcat Quarterback Club's gas raffle at Meridian High School's home football game against Oak Grove last Friday.
Henry walked away with a $100 gift certificate for free gas at Super Stop convenience stores. The booster club sold tickets for $1 prior and during last Friday's game.
All proceeds from the fund raiser benefited the Wildcat football team.
"We had a great success on the field with the win over Oak Grove, and off the field we had a great success with the raffle," said quarterback club president Dave Owen.
Tony Krausz
Getting statewide recognition
Several local girls basketball players were recently recognized by the Jackson Clarion-Ledger as among the best in the state.
Chantay Frazier, a 5-foot-7 senior guard from Choctaw Central High School was selected to the statewide paper's annual Dandy Dozen team.
Shaquita Bell of Northeast Lauderdale and Andrea Dubose of Newton County were listed among the top 40 seniors to watch, while Mystee Dale of Choctaw Central, Lauren Pittman of Wayne County, Tiawana Pringle of Southeast Lauderdale and Amber Walker and Brittany Davidson of Meridian were among the top 20 underclassmen.
Austin Bishop
Covering the field
Meridian High School's football team had to rearrange its defense a little against the Oak Grove Warriors last Friday.
The No. 5 Wildcats (6-0-1, 4-0 District 3-5A) dropped many of their linebackers into coverage, as the Warriors utilized four- and five-receiver sets for most of the game.
The repositioned defenders handled their roles well, as Meridian High intercepted two passes one by Lavarus Rue and one by Jeremy Finley and deflected two passes.
Tony Krausz
Big man gets the ball
Meridian High defensive lineman Jeremy Finley doesn't get the chance to touch the football often throughout the course of the game.
The 6-foot-2, 350-pound senior is usually too busy trying to get to the quarterback or stuffing the lane of opposing running backs, but he made the most of his moment with the ball last Friday.
Finley picked off a shovel pass by Oak Grove quarterback Zack Harrington with 5 1/2 minutes left in the second quarter in Meridian High's 35-21 victory.
The lineman grabbed the ball around the Warriors' 30-yard line and brought it down to the 18, setting up the Wildcats' second touchdown of the game.
"Jeremy deserves something like that to happen to him," Stanley said. "Jeremy Finley may have played the best football of anybody on our football team up to this point. When you watch film and you see Jeremy Finely, you see a guy dominating the line of scrimmage. To see that big play happen to him, that was a fun time for him and everybody. "
Tony Krausz
'Cats passing evolution
Meridian High is a running team, the stats don't lie.
The Wildcats have gained 2,535 offensive yards this season, with 1,964 coming via the running game and 571 through the air.
Though Meridian High's passing numbers are nearly a quarter less than its rushing, the Wildcats have learned to use their passing game effectively.
Facing fourth and 16 from Oak Grove's 24-yard line late in the second quarter last Friday, Wildcats quarterback Justin Baylor found wide receiver A.J. Brown wide open two yards short of the first down.
Baylor lined a pass to Brown, who turned up field for five more yards after the catch and a first down at the Warriors' five-yard line. Meridian High scored two plays after the fourth-down conversion to take a 14-7 lead.
"On fourth down, we knew we had to do what we had to do," Baylor said. "I was able to take my time in the pocket, because of the offensive line, and find my receiver."
Tony Krausz
How others see the Wildcats
Oak Grove has owned Meridian High on the football field the last three years.
The Warriors defeated the Wildcats in 2002 at Ray Stadium, and Oak Grove defeated Meridian High twice in 2003.
The Wildcats halted the Warriors' winning streak last Friday with a 35-21 win, and Oak Grove head coach Nevil Barr said the improvement of Meridian High's squad is easy to see.
"I thought (Meridian High) had a great team last year," Barr said. "I think they are a little better this year. I think they have the kind of team that can go all the way. They have a great football team."
Tony Krausz
Down two Lady Wildcats
Meridian High's slow-pitch softball team's season came to an end last Saturday, as the Lady Wildcats were eliminated from the postseason by Moss Point two games to one.
Meridian High closed out the season without two of its players available for the entire best-of-three series against Moss Point.
Brittany Simmons left the first game early with an ankle injury, and Tiffany Hickman injured her knee in the second game.
The Lady Wildcats, who won the District 5-5A regular season championship, finished the season with a 19-11 record.
Tony Krausz

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