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Wayne Co. ranked No. 1 in state

By By Austin Bishop / EMG regional sports director
Aug. 19, 2003
The Wayne County High School football team underwent a couple of significant changes following its 21-14 win over South Panola in the MHSAA Class 5A State Championship Game last December.
The school dropped from Class 5A to Class 4A and all-everything quarterback Akeem Lofton departed Waynesboro to play for the Bobcats of Jones County Junior College.
But some things have remained the same, at least in the eyes of the 17 voters in the Mississippi High School prep football poll.
Wayne County High School was voted No. 1 in the Associated Press' preseason poll, picking up 10 out of 17 first-place votes and earning 163 total points. South Panola was second with seven first-place votes and 155 total points.
No other team in the coverage area of The Meridian Star was able to crack the Top 20, while only one Louisville picked up votes.
Rounding out the Top 10 are Southaven, Vicksburg, Starkville, Oak Grove, West Jones, West Point, Collins and Clarksdale.
The Little 10, made up of teams in the MHSAA's Class 2A and 1A divisions and all of the MPSA, has defending Class 2A Champion Taylorsville at the top of the preseason poll with 10 first-place votes and 58 points. Ackerman is No. 2 with 49 points, followed by Puckett, Baldwyn, Weir, Eupora, Calhoun City, Scott Central, Lumberton and Ray Brooks. Scott Central and Lumberton are tied at No. 8
Two area teams, Clarkdale High School and Heidelberg Academy, received votes in the poll. The panel is made up of sports writers, and sports writers throughout Mississippi.
The entire poll can be found on the scoreboard page on B2.
The rankings should of be of particular interest to Meridian High School head coach Ed Stanley.
His Wildcats face three of the AP's Top 20 teams this season. MHS visits No. 5 Starkville on Sept. 5, hosts No. 14 Laurel on Sept. 12 and visits No. 6 Oak Grove on Oct. 17.
Northeast Lauderdale visits No. 1 Wayne County on Oct. 10 and No. 7 West Jones on Oct. 31.