Meridian looks to get on track
By By Jeff Byrd/The Meridian Star
Sept. 13, 2001
The Meridian High Wildcat football program is not use to 0-2 starts but in this case, a brutal opening stretch may be more the blame than anything else.
Meridian's two losses have come at the hands of two teams who are ranked in the top six of the Associated Press prep football poll. Last week, the Wildcats fell to third-ranked Starkville 24-0. The week before in the season opener, Meridian lost to sixth ranked Laurel 32-19.
It's the Wildcat offense that has gotten a lot of attention this week in drills in preparation for Friday night's date with the Louisville Wildcats. The Meridian offense was held to just 73 total in the loss to Starkville. For the season, the unit is averaging only 112 yards per game.
The work begins upfront where the Wildcats have struggled with a young line that has had to battle two of the tougher defensive fronts in the state.
Like Meridian, Louisville comes in with an 0-2 record. Their season opening loss came at the hands of the Starkville Yellow Jackets, 21-2. Last week, the maroon Cats fell to Tupelo 12-7.
Louisville has a number of playmakers that the Meridian defense must guard against. The unit is led by quarterback Anthony Stanford, the son of head coach Terry Stanford. Keontae Eiland and Kerry Miller are the two primary ball carriers.
The offensive line is anchored by tackle Davis Carter (320).
The Louisville defense is paced by sophomore tackle Courtney Coleman and junior Issac Triplett. The linebacking corp is led by Martez Hopkins and Anthony Hughes.
Meridian will try and counter with an offensive unit led by wingback Cardae Campbell. He has rushed for 132 yards and one touchdown this season. Fullback Fred Patton is next with 65 yards.
Against Starkville, Meridian used four quarterbacks in an effort to shake up the offense. Sartin says that against Louisville, the Wildcats will use just two.
Compton took all of the snaps at quarterback in the Laurel game, but played sparingly last week. He has completed five of 23 passes for 40 yards.
Pierre Henderson is the team's top receiver with three receptions for 24 yards.
The Meridian defense has played well despite the losses. The unit has allowed only 71 yards net rushing per game.
Pacing the defense is linebackers C.C. Finley and sophomore Jeremy Campbell. Defensive end Ryan Kimbrough (Jr., 221) had two fumble recoveries to help give the offense possession inside Starkville's 30.
Marcus Boyd (Soph., 245) and Dominick Walker (242) are two other defensive line stalwarts for the Wildcats. Place-kicker Leslie Rush has made an impact at cornerback while Dione Hampton patrols the middle at safety.
Jeff Byrd is a sports writer for The Meridian Star. Call him at 693-1551, ext. 3235, or e-mail him at email@example.com.