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Trojans face first region test

By Staff
FULL STEAM AHEAD n Northeast Lauderdale runningback Kelvin Horne runs away from the West Lauderdale defense in last week's game. The Trojans will visit Magee Friday in a Region 5-4A game. Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star
By Jeff Byrd/The Meridian Star
Sept. 20, 2001
Let the Region 5-4A Trojan Wars begin. On Friday, unbeaten Northeast Lauderdale heads southwest to battle tradition-rich Magee in the region opener for both teams.
Northeast finished off a 3-0 run through its tune-up games after beating arch-rival West Lauderdale 44-37 last week at Northeast. Magee, a four-time Class 3A champion, has found tougher sledding this season having risen back up to the 4A ranks.
Magee is off to a 1-2 start following last week's 55-34 loss to 4A power Lawrence County. They were also beaten by 3-0 Columbia 49-30 in week two.
Northeast Head Coach Andy Stevens is optimistic his Trojans can grab an early leg up in the Region 3-4A race with a win at Magee.
The big problem for Magee this season has been its defense. Only one other team in Class 4A has allowed more points than Magee this season. Opponents have ripped Magee for 39.3 points per game.
Magee, however, has stayed competitive behind a big-play offense.
Northeast will counter with an offense that is coming off an impressive outing against West Lauderdale. The Trojans rushed for 314 yards. Fullback Marcus Betts, tailback Kelvin Horne and quarterback Steven Dyess all rushed for over 80 yards in the shootout win.
Betts led the way with 96 yards on 15 carries. He also had a strong game in the season opening win over Heidelberg.
Special teams were another Northeast strength. Calvin Scott ran a kickoff back 95 yards for a touchdown. Dyess took a fake punt 63 yards for another score. He finished with three TDs in the game. Place-kicker Jay Jacobs made a 36-yard field goal and five extra points.
But both Jacobs and Betts have been slowed this week with bumps from the West game.
That could put more pressure on Northeast's solid front seven led by linebackers Tyrone Ivy and Robert Carlisle. Eric Boyd and Pascual Thedford key the middle part of the Trojan line.
Jeff Byrd is a sports writer for the Meridian Star. He can be reached at 693-1551 or by e-mail at j.byrd@themeridianstar.com.

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