Tupelo too much for Cats
By By Jeff Byrd/The Meridian Star
Sept. 22, 2001
An interception return by Ron Evans turned a once competitive game into Tupelo rout here on Friday night at Meridian's Ray Stadium.
Evans' 98-yard touchdown in the second quarter was the key play in Tupelo's 33-0 throttling of Meridian. Not only did the pick near the goal-line stop Meridian's only sustained drive of the night, it turned a 10-0 lead into 17-0 cushion.
Meridian never recovered. The loss drops the Wildcats to 1-3 on the season and it was their third loss to a Top 10 ranked team. Tenth ranked Tupelo moves on with a 4-0 record.
Tupelo Head Coach Phil Ferguson agreed that Evans' interception return was the back-breaker.
Tupelo broke in front on its opening drive of the game marching 74 yards in seven plays. The Golden Wave mixed the hard running of Davious Gilliespie with the sharp passing of Will Kline. The drive was capped by Kline's 15-yard TD pass to Evans on a slant route.
Taylor Mathis' kick made it 7-0 with 8:00 left in the first quarter.
Meridian got the first of two big breaks midway through the period when Leslie Rush recovered a Tupelo fumble at the Wave 48. The Wildcats, however, went three-and-out and punted to Tupelo.
That's where the Cats got break No. 2. Cooper Morgan never got a handle on the punt and Meridian recovered at the Tupelo 24.
The Wildcats powered the ball down to the nine but the march eventually stalled after quarterback Ken Mitts was dropped for a yard loss on third down. Rush's 27-yard field goal went wide leaving the game at 7-0.
Tupelo took its next possession 65 yards to the Meridian 11 before settling for a 28-yard field goal by Mathis with 8:01 left in the half to make it 10-0.
Meridian answered with its most sustained drive of the night. The Wildcat line came off and gave backs Fred Patton and David Fielder good room to run. The Wildcats picked up three first downs to reach the Tupelo 28.
There, the Wildcats tried to cross up the Wave with a first down pass. Instead, it was the Wildcats who got burned. Evans made the grab of Mitts' underthrown ball and darted down the sideline for the 98-yard score. Mathis' kick made it 17-0 with 4:03 left in the half.
The second half was a mere formality. Tupelo scored two touchdowns to go with a defensive safety.
The first score came on a 26-yard TD pass from Kline to Kevin Caldwell. Mathis' kick made it 24-0 with 7:47 left in the third.
Mitts was dropped for a safety by Tupelo's Greg Harris to make it 26-0 with 9:22 left in the game.
The final score came on Meak Fair's four-yard run. Mathis' kick made it 33-0 with 5:19 to play.
Meridian was held to just 129 yards in total offense. They rushed for 118 led by Patton's 51 yards off 10 carries. Fielder had 45 on nine.
Kline was seven of nine passing for 94 yards.
and two TDs. Gilliespie had 102 yards on 11 carries.
Next up for Meridian will be second ranked Brandon.