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Starkville edges Wildcats

By By Tony Krausz/assistant sports editor
September 6, 2003
STARKVILLE Meridian High School's Ed Stanley may not have enjoyed how the scoreboard read at the end of Friday's game against Starkville High School, but he did see some things he liked.
The second-year Wildcats' head coach said his team took a big step forward in its 14-6 loss to the Yellow Jackets (1-1).
Meridian High showed a flash of the improvement the coach raved about at the end of the third quarter. Starkville had the ball on the Meridian High's eight-yard line with 1:25 left in the quarter and leading 14-6.
After giving up a four-yard run, the Wildcats held the Yellow Jackets out of the end zone forcing them to go for a field goal.
Starkville kicker Matt Grable shanked the kick to the right keeping Meridian High within a touchdown of the lead.
The Yellow Jackets scored the winning touchdown one series before the Wildcats' goal-line stand.
Starkville quarterback Will Sneed, who finished the game going 8-of-13 for 122 yards and two touchdowns, dumped off a five-yard toss to running back Isaac Smith on the Wildcats' 48-yard line, as Meridian High's defense collapsed his pocket.
Smith fought off a tackle and he cut to avoid two defenders down field to score on a 53-yard pitch and toss.
Meridian High reduced its halftime deficit to one-point thanks to costly penalties by Starkville. The Wildcats held the ball for nearly 10 minutes in
the second quarter and drove the ball 80 yards on 16 plays, with the Yellow Jackets' four penalties.
Starkville's penalties cost the defense 25 yards on the drive and set up Meridian High running back Cordee Campbell for a three-yard touchdown run to cut it to 7-6.
Starkville's biggest penalty during Meridian High's scoring drive, a 15-yard personal foul, followed a little trickery from Stanley's offense.
Facing third-and-10 from the Yellow Jackets' 30, Wildcats' quarterback Dominique Spinks handed off to Campbell, who pulled up to throw the ball down field.
Campbell connected on the flea-flicker pass to wide receiver Will Compton, but the pass was ruled incomplete, as the ball squirted out of Compton's arms
as he fell on the eight-yard line.
But thanks to Starkville's third flag of the drive, Meridian High gained 15 yards and a first down after the play putting the offense on the Yellow Jackets
Campbell, who rushed for 44 yards and a score, punched the ball into the end zone four plays later.
Starkville scored the game's first points with 4:02 left in the first quarter when Will Sneed hooked up on a 20-yard toss to Branson Marques for a touchdown for a 7-0 lead.
Meridian continues its season against Laurel at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Ray Stadium.