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franklin county times

Wildcats ready to bounce back

By By Tony Krausz / assistant sports editor
November 9, 2004
Meridian High School head football coach Ed Stanley likes his team's chances of bouncing back from the Wildcats' first loss of the 2004 season.
And the three-year Meridian High coach has recent history on his side to confirm his belief.
The Wildcats (8-1-1, 6-1 Division 3-5A) have made a habit of correcting on-the-field errors this year and running off long stretches of winning.
Meridian High's trend of self correction started before its first game of the season, following a 17-0 loss in a preseason jamboree against Wayne County on Aug. 20.
The Wildcats turned the ball over five times against the War Eagles in two quarters of football, but the following week against Clinton in the season opener, Meridian High only fumbled on the opening snap in a 41-14 victory.
Meridian High, which won its first two games of the season, had to go back to work correcting mistakes after the season's third week, following a 14-14t tie with Laurel on Sept. 10.
The Golden Tornadoes exposed some problems in the Wildcats' punting unit, returning one punt for a touchdown and blocking another and bringing it in for the score.
Meridian High followed the tie with six straight wins, all in division play, and the Wildcats didn't allow a special-teams touchdown until last Friday against Northwest Rankin.
The biggest correction Stanley said he would have made in last week's loss is using linebacker Rashad Byrd as a corner back against Northwest Rankin's dangerous receivers.
Meridian High had planed to use Byrd at one of the cornerback spots in place of Dominique Spinks, who was slowed by injury, but the coaching staff opted to use a wide receiver in the backfield spot at the start of the game.
Spinks was brought in early in the loss, but he wasn't as effective as he battled a leg injury throughout the game. Spinks is expected to play this week, but he may be limited in his playing time.
The Wildcats will need to continue their trend of correcting miscues as they enter the playoff run of the 2004 season.
Meridian High, which finished second in District 3-5A, hosts Biloxi at 7 p.m. Friday in an opening-round matchup of the Class 5A playoffs. Biloxi finished third in its district.
Meridian High's opening-round playoff game can be heard locally on WJXM (105.7 FM) and WZKR (103.3 FM).

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