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MHS set to even up record

By By Tony Krausz / assistant sports editor
Sept. 5, 2003
When the Meridian High School football team returned to the practice field this week, the 0-1 Wildcats had two goals on their agenda.
The squad, that lost its opener to the Clinton High School Arrows 14-7 last Friday, wanted to correct the mistakes it made in its season opener and get back in the correct frame of mind.
"We need to get our guys back on a level-headed frame of mind," said Meridian High head coach Ed Stanley, whose team committed 11 penalties costing it 95 yards in the season opener. "I think we unconsciously let our guard down against Clinton. We had so many people telling them, 'Ya' all are going to beat Clinton.'
"We didn't come out and think we had to fight and scratch and claw to win the game," Stanley added. "You've got to have that mindset every time you step on the field."
The Wildcats will out find if they are in the right frame of mind against another team that lost its season opener due to early season mistakes.
Meridian High travels to take on the No. 11-ranked Starkville High School Yellow Jackets (0-1) at 7:30 p.m. today.
The Yellow Jackets, who opened the season ranked No. 8 in the state, lost their opener to the Louisville Wildcats 12-7.
Starkville drove to Louisville's 12-yard line, with under a minute to play, but the Yellow Jackets committed four penalties and had a fourth-down pass come up short.
"Starkville definitely had a chance to win the other night," Stanley said. "Their backs are against the wall, and our backs are against the wall. It ought to be a knock-out, drag-out kind of battle. Nobody wants to be 0-2, you want to even that thing up."
Meridian High has tweaked its offense for the contest against Starkville.
The Wildcats gained 219 yards of total offense against the Arrows, but the team turned the ball over three times (two interceptions and one fumble) in the loss.
"We really stopped ourselves," Stanley said of his offense against Clinton. "We should have kept doing what we were doing and not try to haul off and get a quick score. We should have just kept moving the chains."
Meridian High will be matching up against a very strong defense in its second game.
"(Starkville's) defense is extremely quick," Stanley said. "They have three or four Division I athletes on the field. It looks like they put most of their real athletes on defense."