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Wildcats trounce Natchez

By By Tony Krausz/assistant sports editor
October 4, 2003
Meridian High School sophomore Cordera Eason showed off his fancy footwork before the school's homecoming dance.
The 214-pound running back rushed for 115 yards on five carries in the Wildcats' 60-14 homecoming win over the Natchez High School Bulldogs (1-5) Friday night at Ray Stadium.
Eason scored touchdowns on four of his five runs, as Meridian High romped its way to a 48-0 halftime lead. The sophomore back scored on runs of six, 47, 11 and 44 yards.
Eason's first touchdown from six yards out was set up by a bad snap on a Natchez punt attempt that went over Bulldogs punter Riley Trask's head. Meridian High received the ball on Natchez's 11-yard line.
After Natchez took an offsides penalty, Eason took the handoff, bounced off a defender at the line of scrimmage and darted into the right side of the end zone for a 7-0 lead three minutes into the game. Senior kicker Andrew Gambrell connected on the point-after attempt.
Eason showcased his footwork on his second carry of the night that resulted in his 47-yard touchdown run.
Tight end Ken Mitts gave the sophomore a big block 15 yards in front of the line of scrimmage, Eason sprinted down the left sideline only to put on the breaks inside the Bulldogs' 20-yard line; he cut back to his right and ran into the middle of the end zone.
Eason broke a tackle at the Bulldogs' six-yard line to score on his 11-yard touchdown run, and he simply outran Natchez's defense down the left sideline for his fourth touchdown that gave Meridian High a 28-0 lead with 10:41 left in the first half.
The Wildcats also got touchdown runs from quarterback Justin Baylor and senior running back Cordea Campbell, who gained 108 yards on 11 carries.
Baylor scored on a two-yard run, and Campbell tallied his touchdown on a 18-yard run for a 41-0 lead, with 2:28 left in the first half. The point-after attempt failed when the snap went over the holder's head.
The Wildcats defense, which limited the Bulldogs to 54 yards in the first half, tallied the final score of the game's opening 24 minutes.
Meridian High junior defensive back Thomas McCoy intercepted Natchez quarterback Jason Hayes' pass at the Bulldogs' 28-yard line. McCoy raced down the left side line for the score and the seven touchdown lead at the break.
The big first half allowed the Wildcats to work on their passing game for most of the second quarter, and Stanley was able to insert his second string for most of the second half.
Baylor completed 6-of-12 passes for 78 yards, and junior James Hampton ran for touchdowns of 25 and 18 yards in the second half.
The Bulldogs scored both of their touchdowns in the second half on passes of 34 and 72 yards. Trask, who took the majority of the snaps for Natchez, completed 9-of-16 passes for 201 yards, with two touchdowns.
Meridian High continues its season against Picayune at 7:30 p.m. Friday on the road.