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McCleon, Smith give Super Bowl local touch

By Staff
Jan. 28, 2002
Mulling over many musings on a Monday morning while mentioning Ralph Garr …
When the Super Bowl kicks off on Sunday afternoon in New Orleans, it will definitely have a local flavor.
Defending the New England passing attack will be former Meridian High School standout Dexter McCleon.
McCleon has proven himself to be a durable player as a pro and has become a top cornerback in the NFL.
Many may have forgotten that he started his college football career as a quarterback at Clemson University in South Carolina and held the starting position for a while.
He made the shift to defensive back late in his college career and it turned out to be the right move.
He already has one Super Bowl ring to his credit with the Rams winning two seasons ago, but now he is after his second.
The other player with local connections is New England running back Antowain Smith.
Smith, who is from Alabama, played his college football at the University of Houston.
But before he headed west to Texas he starred for the Lions of East Mississippi Community College in Scooba for two seasons.
Smith played for the Buffalo Bills early in his career, before making the move to New England this season.
That also appears to have been a good move for both Smith and the Patriots.
Soccer playoffs in spotlight
The prep soccer playoffs officially get under way today with the Raiders of Lamar School taking on Jackson Academy on the road this afternoon in the first round of MPSA boys action.
The winner of that match will advance to a semifinal match on Thursday at a site to be determined, followed by Saturday's title game also at a site to be determined.
Three area high schools are hosting first-round playoff matches on Tuesday, while four others are on the road.
The Lady Trojans of Northeast Lauderdale High School play host to Brookhaven at 6 p.m. in the MHSAA Class 4A playoffs, while the Newton County Lady Cougars entertain Forrest AHS at 6 p.m. in Decatur in the 3A-2A-1A playoffs.
Another girls match has the Lady Bulldogs of Clarkdale paying a visit to OLA on the Coast at 5:30 p.m.
In boys play the Knights of West Lauderdale are set to host North Forrest at 7 p.m., while Clarkdale is at Richland at 6 p.m.
No time has been announced for the Class 4A matchup between Neshoba Central and homestanding Oxford.
The second round of the playoffs is set for Saturday.
Chip in with some questions
I've been having a lot of fun with the new Sidelines portion of the prep and junior college pages.
That feature runs daily and has several components, including a question and answer.
If you have an interesting question you would like to be included and also have the answer then send them in and if we use them we will give you credit.
It can be about any sports related item, but it is more interesting if it involves local sports and teams or the colleges and universities in the state.
You can either send them by fax at 485-1275 (attention Austin Bishop) or by e-mail at sports@themeridian
I'm looking forward to seeing what you guys come up with.