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NE Trojans geared up for powerhouse Louisville

By By Jefff Byrd/The Meridian Star
Oct. 25, 2001
Playing out the string is tough on any team. But that's what the Northeast Lauderdale Trojans find themselves doing for the final two weeks of the season.
On Friday, the Trojans wrap up their five-game home slate when noted 4A power Louisville visits for a oon-region contest.
Louisville, a winner of five 4A state championships, brings a 4-4 record to Trojan Field. The Wildcats got off to an 0-3 start which included losses to Tupelo (12-7) and Meridian (21-13).
Northeast Lauderdale has lost five straight since opening the season with three straight wins.
The Trojans were beaten at home for the second straight week by Region 5-4A foe Mendenhall 20-0.
The week before they fell to Northeast Jones 28-14.
A mounting injury list and turnovers have hindered Coach Andy Stevens in his first year at Northeast.
Perhaps the biggest loss was fullback Marcus Betts. In the Trojans' first three wins, Betts rushed for nearly 100 yards per game.
At Magee, he suffered a rib and shoulder injury.
He has not played since.
Kevin Horne, the Trojans starting tailback for seven weeks, is also out for the year with a knee injury.
Linemen Brad Sears is also out with a seperated shoulder.
Stevens has moved in some younger players to help make up the loss for his departed starters.
Quarterback Rod Smith took the majority of the snaps at quarterback against Mendenhall.
He was five of 11 passing for 105 yards in the Northeast Jones game.
He was two of seven passing for 35 yards with two interceptions.
Things are going to get better. We have a talented sophomore class and our eighth grade won the county championship," Stevens said.
I knew coming in that things would take awhile to turn it around.
We just need to get this bunch mentally and physically tougher from here on and through the off-season," he added.
Senior Steven Dyess has become a big-play target at receiver for the Trojans. He has 85 yards off three long receptions in the past two games.
The Trojans have also gotten a spark in the running game from Lavaris Portis and Curtis Harrison. The pair combined for 76 yards rushing against Mendenhall.
The Northeast defense is paced by Michael Murray and end Marcus Brown. Tyrone Ivy and Robert Carlisle are the linebackers. Calvin Scott heads the secondary.
Louisville is led by quarterback Anthony Stanford. Leron Yarborough is a big-play guy having run back a kick for a 96-yard touchdown against Meridian. Keontae Eiland is the top running back.
The offensive line is anchored by 320-pounder Davis Carter.
Defensively, down tackle Courtney Coleman is a "next-level" player.
Marty Hopkins and Anthony Hughes pace the linebackers.
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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