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Stanley hopes to put wild' back into the Wildcats

By By Austin Bishop / EMG sports director
Aug. 21, 2003
Thumbing Through the thick soup that is my brain on a Thursday, while wondering whatever happened to Hank Phillips …
There will be some genuine excitement in the air at Meridian High School's Ray Stadium around 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 29.
While that is obviously the kickoff time for the Wildcats' season opener against Clinton High School, it is also when second-year head coach Ed Stanley unwraps his team for area football fans to see first hand.
Yes, they did put on the pads and trade some ferocious licks during 'Meet The Wildcats Night' last week, but on Aug. 29 it will be for real.
Last year was a difficult one for Stanley, the Wildcats and for their fans. Winning just three games is not something that any of the three aforementioned subjects are very fond of.
During the offseason, Stanley, along with his coaching staff and the players, have been driven to improve. They, shall we say, were determined to put the 'wild' back in the Wildcats.
There was a time when a trip to Ray Stadium on a Friday night was not a very pleasant thought for the opponents of Meridian High School. While it can still be daunting, the times have changed. Now a visit to play MHS is seen as more of a good opportunity to play with, or perhaps even beat, one of the 'big' name schools in the state.
Stanley is dedicated to returning the fright to the experience of playing the Wildcats on the football field.
Can he do it this year? I'm really not sure.
But I can already see a difference.
When Stanley was first introduced to the local media as the newest MHS head coach, I saw a man with a long history of success coming to a school with a terrific football past. It seemed like a perfect marriage.
Perhaps both the coach and the school thought the turnaround would be a little easier than they expected. They both learned differently last season.
But, the school did not give up on the coach and the coach has certainly not given up on his players.
Instead I have seen that spark rekindled inside of Ed Stanley that made him the winning coach he was at South Panola High School. He has been challenged. And now he has done what has been successful for him in the past, he has gone to work and taken his coaching staff and players with him.
Look for good things from Meridian High School this season. Will they reach the State Championship game? It would certainly make for a great story, but that is more of a dream than a probability. But you can count on MHS to be in the playoffs this season and to be in every game they play.
After glancing down the schedule, it becomes apparent that this is going to be an exciting season for MHS. It would not be surprising if all but one of the games come down to a touchdown or less either way.
If it has been a while since you have made your way out to a football game at MHS, this would be a good season to return to the concrete bleachers of Ray Stadium.
Who knows you may get in on the beginning of something big.
Calling all coaches
Coaches and/or scorekeepers of all area sports teams are encouraged to report their results. It would also be helpful if a schedule and roster could be sent our way.
Results can be called in at 693-1551, ext. 3235 or 1-800-232-2525, ext. 3235 after the event. If a reporter is out on assignment rather than manning the phone, then the results can be left on voice mail. Please be sure to clearly spell out all names that we may misunderstand.
Also, results can be sent to us by fax at 485-1275 or by e-mail at sports@themeridianstar.com.
Any comments?
If you have any thoughts or suggestions about the sports section of The Meridian Star, please feel free to share them with me. I can be reached by phone at 938-2471 or by e-mail at abishop@themeridianstar.com.

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