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MHS finds its stride on offense

By By Tony Krausz / assistant sports editor
Oct. 3, 2003
After losing its first two games by seven and six points, Meridian High School went back to the offensive drawing board.
The Wildcats (3-2, 1-0 Region 3-5A) inserted a new quarterback, sophomore Justin Baylor, into the lineup, and they focused their attack on the ground.
Meridian's first execution of the new offense resulted in another close contest, a 14-7 win over Laurel on Sept. 12, but since that game, the Wildcats have started blowing out opponents.
Meridian notched a 38-14 win over St. Martin on Sept. 19 and a 31-7 win over rival Hattiesburg last weekend. Head coach Ed Stanley credits the Wildcats' scoring explosion to familiarity with the system and not allowing opposing defenses to dictate the playing calling.
The Wildcats will test their new offense and put their three-game winning streak on the line against the Natchez High School Bulldogs at 7 p.m. today at Ray Stadium in the team's homecoming game.
Meridian will come into the
contest trying not to let down after the emotional win against Hattiesburg, and the team will also be battling the distractions of homecoming week.
While Natchez is only sporting a 1-4 record, the Bulldogs are loaded with athletes up and down their roster. Natchez lost 54-0 to Picayune last week.
Natchez's defensive unit doesn't have any one particular player that stands out, but the unit as a whole has the ability to swarm to the ball and cover gaps at an alarming rate.
On offense, the Wildcats, who limited Hattiesburg to 121 yards and forced six turnovers last week, will have to be aware of Bulldogs wide receiver Kedrick Gibbons.
Stanley is confident that his team that has notch up 69 points over the last two games, after scoring just 20 points in the opening three contests, will continue roll over opponents.
The coach's optimism springs from what happened after the end of the contest against Hattiesburg. When the Wildcats gathered in a circle at the end of the game for the traditional game ending cheer, the catch phrase varied from the typical "Wildcats!" or "Wildcat pride!."