Normalcy returns as Wayne plays for state championship
By By Scott Walters/EMG-Laurel Leader-Call
Nov. 28, 2001
For football fans at Wayne Academy, a sense of normalcy has returned.
For the third time in four seasons, the Jaguars will be playing for the MPSA Class 1A state championship.
Wayne plays Trinity Episcopal of Natchez at 1 p.m. Thursday at Robinson-Hale Stadium on the Mississippi College campus in Clinton.
The Jaguars return to the state championship after falling in the north state finals last season. Wayne won its only two state football championships in 1998 and 1999.
Some of Class 1A's top performers will be showcased in Thursday's season finale. Trinity (11-2) is led by senior quarterback Chad Ridley. Ridley has scored a Class 1A best 166 points this season, including 27 touchdowns and a pair of 2-point conversions.
Trinity is averaging 32 points per game this season. Equally as impressive, the Saints defense has posted five shutouts.
Trinity will start seven sophomores and two freshmen on defense Thursday.
Top tackler Gregory Ketchings has 154 total stops and is a sophomore. Also in that class is defensive back Chase Brown, who has a Class 1A best 10 interceptions this season.
Wayne (12-1) takes the field as the state's top-ranked team Thursday. The Jaguars won their first nine regular season games before losing to Heidelberg 35-0 in the regular season finale. This is the same Heidelberg team which ousted Wayne in the playoffs last season.
The Jaguars rebounded from what Boszor called "a wakeup call" with three quality efforts in the playoffs, including a pair of road wins to start things off.
Quarterback Steven Wood and do-it-all handyman Cory Cochran anchor the Jaguar attack. Cochran has rushed for more than 1,000 yards on offense and anchors the Wayne defense from a free safety position.
The Jaguar defense has been thrifty this season. The Jaguars have held eight opponents to a touchdown or less, including all three vanquished foes in the playoffs.
Wayne defeated Mount Olive (La.) in both the 1998 and 1999 championship games. Trinity won its only title with a defeat of Carroll in the 1989 finals. The Saints lost in the 1975 and 1977 title matches.