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Meridian hits the road to face Hancock

By By Jeff Byrd/The Meridian Star
Oct. 11, 2001
The Hancock Hawks are not a Top 10 ranked team, which should be good news for the Meridian Wildcats. But it will be a long, long trip down to the Kiln, the home of former USM great and current Green Bay Packer quarterback Brett Favre.
Both teams enter the Region 2-5A contest off close losses to ranked teams. Meridian had a made 46-yard field goal called back because of an illegal substitution penalty on Brandon. The Wildcats got a chance at a 41-yard kick which was blocked preserving No. 1 ranked Brandon's 16-14 win.
Hancock, meanwhile, fell to eighth ranked Wayne County 13-12 in Waynesboro. The Hawks took a 12-0 lead only to see the War Eagles rally to take the region win.
Meridian will bring a 1-5 overall record and an 0-2 mark in the region to Hancock. All five losses have been to teams ranked in the state's Top 10 polls at one time or another. The Hawks are 4-2 overall and 1-1 in the region.
Hancock's ground game is led by tailback Ervin Jackson and quarterback Brandon Necaise. Jackson gained 75 yards against Wayne County.
The Hawks have averaged 23.1 points per game while allowing 17.8. They are led on defense by defensvie tackle Donnie Moran, linebacker Charles Bolden and linebacker Matt Rayborn.
The Wildcats will counter with an offense that is coming off its best game of the season. Sophomore tailback Cardae Campbell rushed for a career high 190 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Wildcats' comeback against Brandon. He now has nearly 400 yards on the season and five touchdowns.
The Wildcat defense is paced by linebackers C.C. Finley and Lyndale Nailor. Dominick Dunn and Ryan Kimbrough key the defensive front.
The secondary is paced by Leslie Rush and safety Dione Hampton.
The Meridian kicking game got a boost from Andrew Gambrell. The sophomore kicker booted through a 46-yard field that would've beaten Brandon but the kick was waved off. He was 2-for-2 on PAT kicks.