WL set to host Forest Friday
POWER RUNNING West Lauderdale running back Carlessio Blanks speeds through a pack of defenders in a recent game. Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star
By Marty Stamper/The Meridian Star
Nov. 8, 2001
West Lauderdale will make its first venture into the state football playoffs since 1984 when the Knights travel to Forest Friday night.
West, 6-4, is the No. 3 team in Region 5-3A behind Newton County and Philadelphia.
Forest finished in a three-way tie for second place in Region 6-3A with Morton and Velma Jackson, but took the No. 2 seed in the point differential despite a dismal 3-7 overall record.
Following the retirement of head coach Jack French, the Bearcats opened the 2001 season with five straight losses before beating Richland 33-13 on Oct. 5.
Forest won the Class 3A state title in 1999, but missed out on the playoffs in 2000.
The Knights closed out their regular season with a 35-14 win over Carthage last Friday.
Carlessio Blanks has been a running machine for West the last two weeks, getting 356 yards on 49 carries against Southeast Lauderdale two weeks ago and 300 yards on 32 carries last week against Carthage.
West quarterback C. Jay Fountain returns after a shoulder injury suffered against Greene County in a 33-3 loss on Oct. 12.
Forest's most impressive win was a 28-16 conquest of an 8-2 Velma Jackson squad on Oct. 19 at Camden.
West and Forest last met in 1998 with the Bearcats taking a 38-7 win.
Since a 19-0 Knight victory in 1986, the teams have met six times with Forest outscoring West by a whopping 249-16 total.
Marty Stamper is a sports writer for the Meridian Star. E-mail him at email@example.com or phone him at 693-1551, ext. 3235.