Records not always key to having important game
By By Austin Bishop / EMG regional sports director
Sept. 8, 2003
Three weeks into the season you would expect most of the big games to involve a pair of undefeated teams. This week's key matchups just goes to show that theory doesn't always hold up.
Of the nine biggest games in The Meridian Star coverage area, only one features a pair of 2-0 teams No. 1-ranked Wayne County at No. 18 McComb while one has a pair of winless teams, and four others have at least one team that has yet to earn a win.
The annual matchup between Clarkdale and Southeast Lauderdale, set for 7:30 p.m. Thursday at SEL, was going to be interesting enough before Clarkdale head coach Gary Lee resigned late last week.
Both teams go into the game at 0-2 and both see this contest as a big one.
The Bulldogs of CHS have lost hard fought games to West Lauderdale (19-7) and Enterprise (20-6), while Southeast fell to Enterprise (25-13) and Northeast Lauderdale (34-8).
Joey Etheridge has taken over as the head coach for Clarkdale, while the Tigers will be trying to end an 11-game losing streak.
If you are forced to predict the final score of Friday night's Ray Stadium battle between Meridian High School and Laurel go for 14-7.
Who wins may be the big question, but look for the game to be low scoring and hard hitting. The Wildcats dropped their first two games of the season 14-7 and 14-6, while Laurel lost to No. 6-ranked West Jones in the opener before beating Hattiesburg 16-7.
Another game that probably won't have more than 24 points scored will take place in Clarke County on Friday night when West Lauderdale pays a visit to Enterprise.
Both squads have bruising defenses, so touchdowns will be at a premium. The 1-1 Knights of WL came within a field goal of going into the game undefeated, as they fell to Philadelphia 7-6 last week.
While it's not a division game, Lamar's Homecoming contest against 3-0 Columbia Academy is still important. The Raiders dropped a 38-13 decision to perennial MPSA power Jackson Prep last week, and look to bounce back.
Jeff Breland isn't very familiar with taking his team into the third week of the season still seeking his first win, but that's just what the Cougars of Newton County face this week when they pay a visit to Northeast Lauderdale.
Newton County has scored just nine points against a pair of Class 4A teams the first two weeks, while Northeast Lauderdale rebounded from a shutout against Northwest Rankin in the season opener to handily defeat SEL last week.
Jeff's little brother Brad is also still looking for his first win of the years, as the Yellowjackets of Union have suffered a pair of surprising season-opening losses to Noxapater and South Leake. Things don't get any easier this week as the Jackets play host to 1-1 Nanih Waiya.
For the first time in many years the MPSA 3-A game between Heidelberg Academy and Newton County Academy has some meaning.
Both teams go into the game with 1-0 division records and the NCA Generals are coming off a pair of games in which they put up 44 points each. Heidelberg picked up its first win of the season last week (37-0 over Central Academy) after opening the year with losses to Columbia and Lamar, who have a combined record of 5-1.
It truly doesn't matter about the records when Neshoba Central and Philadelphia hook up on the football field.
Although Neshoba is 0-2 going into PHS' Harpole Stadium to face a 2-0 Tornadoes squad, the game is a toss up.
Neshoba Central lost a tough game to an improved Forest squad 12-9 last week, while Philly has picked up narrow wins over Choctaw Central (21-15) and West Lauderdale (7-6).