Wildcats defeat St. Martin
By By Tony Krausz/assistant sports editor
September 20, 2003
OCEAN SPRINGS Meridian High School kicker Andrew Gambrell turned St. Martin's Joe Barlow Stadium into his personal field of dreams.
The 190-pound kicker blasted a field goal between the uprights from 55 yards out and sent every one of his seven kickoffs into the Yellowjackets' end zone as the Wildcats (2-2) captured their second straight win 38-14 Friday night.
Gambrell's 55-yarder was the longest he ever kicked in a game, and it gave Meridian High a 10-7 lead with 36 seconds left in the first quarter over St. Martin (1-2).
The Wildcat kicker's contributions to the win didn't end with a long three-point boot and powerful kickoffs.
St. Martin muffed two punts from Gambrell, who averaged 50.3 yards on four punts, both of which led to easy scores by Meridian High.
Yellowjackets' return man/running back DeAndre Johnson botched both of the return plays, with the first coming four minutes into the game.
St. Martin took an early 7-0 lead on a 49-yard touchdown run by Johnson, and the Yellowjackets forced the Wildcats to punt on their first offensive
Gambrell powered the punt 61 yards, and the ball bounced off Johnson's hands. Meridian High's Lavarus Rue scooped up the loose ball on St. Martin's 12-yard line.
Meridian High running back Cordera Eason, who finished the game with 49 yards on six carries, put the ball into the end zone three plays later on a
five-yard run to tie the score at seven.
St. Martin's second miscue on special teams came midway through the third quarter.
With Meridian High clinging to a 17-14 lead, Johnson failed to handle a 39-yard punt from Gambrell at his own 15.
After Wildcat quarterback Justin Baylor, who carried the ball five times for 20 yards, was sacked for a two-yard loss, Meridian High sophomore running back Derrick Davis punched the ball into the end zone from 17 yards out for a 24-14 advantage.
Davis, who rushed for 83 yards on three carries, scored with a run up the middle, a play the Wildcats turned to a lot in the second half for big gains.
Meridian High sophomore running back Jamie Hill, who was moved to the offensive spot from linebacker, tallied the team's fourth touchdown of the game with a 72-yard run up the middle, with 3:17 left in the third quarter.
The Wildcats scored their final touchdown of the game with just over nine minutes left in the fourth quarter.
Meridian High drove the ball 81 yards on six plays to set up a six-yard touchdown run by Baylor.
The drive began with a 60-yard run by Davis, who after powering up the middle sprinted down the left side of the field for the big gain.
Eason provided Meridian High with its first long run of the game in the second quarter.
The 214-pound back fought off two tackles at the original line of scrimmage and streaked down the left sideline for a 35-yard score.
St. Martin responded to Eason's second scoring run of the first half with a 12-play, 90-yard, after a penalty forced the Yellowjackets to start on their own 10.
St. Martin quarterback T.J. Windham, who completed 14-of-33 passes for 148 yards, connected on passes of 20 and 19 yards during the drive, which was capped by a five-yard run up the middle by St. Martin fullback Winston Ceaser lowering Meridian High's lead to 17-14.
The Yellowjackets finished the game with 357 yards of total offense to the Wildcats' 317. Meridian High senior running back Cordea Campbell gained 73 yards on 19 carries.
Meridian High continues its season against Hattiesburg at 7:30 p.m. Friday at home.