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Heidelberg, Quitman renew football rivalry

By By Robby Atkinson / staff writer
Aug. 29, 2003
Clarke County is already buzzing about the first high school football weekend of 2003.
The Heidelberg High Oilers will make the short trip to Quitman to take on the MHSAA Class 4-A Panthers tonight. The game will mark the first time in several years that the two schools have met in football.
Heidelberg head man Larry McGill shared the same comments about the opener. "It will be a very emotional game and it is such a great way to begin the year," he said. "Our kids have done a great job in practice and are very ready to get the season going."
Other games set for tonight in The Meridian Star's south area are: Wayne County at Columbus, Wayne Academy at Presbyterian Christian, Heidelberg Academy at Lamar, Southeast Lauderdale at Enterprise, and Hebron Christian School at Sylva-Bay Academy. Bay Springs hosted Stringer on Thursday night.
Quitman is coming off a 2002 season that saw them go 4-7 and make an appearance in the playoffs. The Panthers will need to rely on a new signal-caller and experience at the tailback spot. Justin Holloman will take over the job at quarterback, while Mike McLendon will be doing much of the ground work on offense for the Panthers.
Fullback Douglas Ryans rushed for over 1,000 yards last season and McGill is hoping for much of the same.
Wayne County at Columbus
The War Eagles will be looking to build on the success of 2002, but Wayne will begin the 2003 campaign with a tough test on the road against Class 5-A power Columbus. The preseason-ranked No. 1 War Eagles will be returning plenty of great players from the Class 5A state championship team from last season.
Wayne County will be returning a majority of the defense that will be led by defensive ends DaShawn Smith and Cedric Jones. One key for the War Eagles is that 1,000 yard rusher Michael McLaughlin will be returning to the backfield for his senior year to give Wayne a huge rushing threat. J.J. Taylor will be making a move to quarterback after playing much of the 2002 season at running back.
Wayne Academy at Presbyterian Christian
The Jaguars will try to rebound after a 35-12 setback at the hands of the Lamar Raiders last Friday night. The game will mark the second straight game on the road for Wayne Academy and will be played in Petal. Nick Baggett led the rushing attack against Lamar with 26 yards on seven carries.
Brett Coxwell also tallied 16 yards on six carries to round out the rushing game last Friday. Jamie Shirley led the defense with a 49-yard interception return for a touchdown in the loss against Lamar. The only other score for the Jaguars came off a 31-yard touchdown strike from Garet James to Clark Joiner.
Hebron Christian at Sylva-Bay Academy
The Sylva-Bay Academy Saints hope that history repeats itself when it returns home to tangle with Hebron on Friday night. The Saints recorded a 26-18 win over Hebron in 2002, but this season Sylva-Bay will need to take care of the job after an impressive win last week.
The Saints will look to build on a win after a win against Winona Academy last week by a final score of 28-0. Dusty McCormick started the year off on the right note with a pair of rushing touchdowns from his tailback position to pace the offense. Anthony Johnston shined had a pair of fumble recovers to lead the shutout on defense for the Saints.