Raiders host Cougars in district battle
By By Jeff Byrd/The Meridian Star
Sept. 19, 2001
The hunt for a playoff berth begins Friday night for the Lamar School Raiders.
The Raiders open District 3-AAA play at Grey Cobb Field against visiting Central Hinds Academy. Both teams enter with 1-2 records but that's where the similarities end.
Lamar Head Coach Mac Barnes says that Central Hinds will bring one of the most improved teams in the Mississippi Private School Association.
"Central Hinds has made the biggest turnaround since last year of any team in the MPSA. They were 0-11 last year and had lost 14 or 15 in a row. They broke that streak last week when they beat Benton 42-0," Barnes said.
In fact, the two losses by Central Hinds were to teams that are still unbeaten. They are also the only team in the District 3-AAA standings that has a positive points for to points against ratio.
Central Hinds is averaging 22.8 points per game while giving up 20.3. Lamar, meanwhile, has been outscored by its opponents by a 48 to 69 count.
This includes last Saturday's 35-14 loss at the hands of defending Class A champion Heidelberg Academy.
"We are a pretty beat up football team," Barnes said coming out of last week's game. "Two of our guys were hurt, but this is a do or die game and we need everybody."
The two walking wounded include Monroe Mayfield and Eric Stubbs. Mayfield left the Heidelberg game in the fourth quarter with an ankle sprain. Stubbs left with a knee problem.
"Both of them are still pretty sore, but both could play. And, Daniel Harrison continues to come along," Barnes said.
Central Hinds will provide the Raiders with another physical test for the second straight week.
"They are an I-team that likes to line-up in two tight ends, which is not one of our favorite offenses to face," Barnes said. Last week, Heidelberg lined up with two tight ends and rammed the Raiders for 21 second half points.
Much like Heidelberg, Central Hinds will use a potent 1-2 combination in its backfield. Fullback Colby Powell is a load at 6-foot-3, 225 pounds. They also have tailback who Barnes says is one of the fastest runners the Raiders will see this season.
"The Holley kid rushed for 193 yards against Canton. He didn't play last year and he's a big reason along with the Powell kid why they are so much better this season," Barnes said.
Lamar will counter with a club that started off well against Heidelberg taking a 14-7 lead in the first quarter. Fullback Cameron Coleman helped set up both of the Raiders' touchdowns on runs of 52 and 74 yards.
"Coleman had a great night with over 130 yards rushing on just six carries," Barnes said. "The plays went through our right side which continues to block well."
The Raiders' Vaughn Waters (5-11, 230) and Roland Terry (6-5, 230) anchor the offensive line. Quarterback Drew Moffett continues to improve at directing the offense at quarterback.
The defense is paced by Mayfield at linebacker. Michael Tartt (6-1, 190) had a good first half on defense against Heidelberg.
"The whole unit played pretty well for a half but then we were worn down by the fourth quarter," Barnes said.
Jeff Byrd is a sports writer for the Meridian Star. He can be reached at 693-1551 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.