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NEL coach familiar with Mendenhall

By By Jeff Byrd/The Meridian Star
Oct. 18, 2001
No team that Northeast Lauderdale plays this season will be more familiar to Coach Andy Stevens than the Mendenhall Tigers.
The fact that he was Mendenhall's head coach for the previous couple of seasons should explain it.
On Friday, those same Mendenhall Tigers visit Trojan Field as Northeast's homecoming guest. The Trojans will be looking to snap a four-game losing streak.
All the losses have come inside Region 5-4A and have made making the playoffs an unattainable goal for 2001. Still, Stevens is looking to finish the season strong and it can begin Friday with a win over his former team.
Northeast has been competitive in each of its four losses. Last week was another example. The team was tied 14-14 with Northeast Jones but costly turnovers either set up a score for Northeast Jones or cost the Trojans a chance to tie.
Mendenhall brings in a 4-3 record to Trojan Field. The Tigers are 2-1 in region play. The Tigers are a high-scoring team, averaging 24.8 points per game. On defense, they have given up 17.3 ppg.
Northeast fans can expect to see even more younger players to get in some action this week. The team has had to battle the loss of fullback Marcus Betts for the past four weeks.
With the physical Betts in the line-up, the Trojans ran off three straight wins to open the season. He was hurt in the 50-46 loss at Magee and has not played since.
Curtis Harrison and Lavoris Portis will split duty. Sophomore quarterback Rod Smith will also see more time. Smith was 5-of-11 passing for 101 yards in the Northeast Jones game.
Steven Dyess will probably open at quarterback and then move over to receiver. He has produced in both places. He completed two passes for 68 yards to set up both of the Trojans' touchdowns. He then caught a 43-yard pass from Smith.
Robert Carlisle, Tyrone Ivy and Eric Boyd key the Northeast defense.

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