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Meridian renews rivalry with former Big 8 foe Laurel

By By Jeff Byrd/The Meridian Star
Aug, 29, 2001
An old Big 8 Conference rivalry will renew on Friday when the Laurel Golden Tornadoes visit Ray Stadium for a clash with the Meridian Wildcats.
For Meridian Head Coach Bill Sartin, the opener will start his fourth season. Last year, Sartin led the Wildcats to a 9-3 season which included a three-way tie for first place in Region 3-5A with Wayne County and Brandon.
Laurel is coming off its best season since joining the Class 4A ranks. The Golden Tornadoes finished 13-1 and advanced to the Class 4A semifinals before falling to eventual state champion McComb. They also defeated 5A clubs Gulfport and Wayne County who beat Meridian last year.
Sartin says his team is anxious to play for real.
Laurel returns several starters from last year's defense including a second-team All-State player in linemen Chris Starr.
Laurel runs a 4-3 defensive alignment and implements the mid-line option on offense.
Meridian will counter with an offense that looks to return to its multiple option roots.
The job of replacing Spinks, who is now at North Alabama, will go to John Hays Compton. Sartin said that Richmond Alexander has had a strong camp and will be the backup.
The group includes C.C. Finley, Dominque Walker, Deon Hampton, Fred Patton, David Fielder and Pierre Henderson.
They will get it on Friday night at Ray Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
Jeff Byrd is a sports writer for The Meridian Star. Call him at 693-1551, or e-mail him at