New teams make Region 3-1A even stronger in 2003
By By Marty Stamper / EMG sports assistant
Oct. 8, 2003
Region 3-1A has done quite well in football the last two years with Pelahatchie winning a MHSAA state championship in 2001 and Puckett bringing home the title in 2002.
Neither won their regular season region championship as those titles went to Puckett in 2001 and Union in 2002.
An already stout league got a whole lot tougher this fall with the additions of Scott Central and South Leake, both of which dropped from Class 2A to Class 1A. In Scott Central's last venture in 1A, the Rebels won a state championship in 1999, beating current 3-1A member Noxapater in the finals.
Heading into Friday's games, Puckett and Scott Central are both 6-0 in the region with South Leake checking in at 5-0. Scott Central will host Puckett Friday night.
While Scott Central was expected to be a force, South Leake has been somewhat of a surprise team.
"Probably a little of what's helping them is they've played 2A football for a couple of years," Union head coach Brad Breland said of the two newcomers. "On top of that, they're both extremely talented.
"South Leake has got 13 seniors and I understand Scott Central's enrollment is up to 255 right now, which is extremely large for a 1A. They're both big 1A schools and they've both got a lot of athletes."
Region 3-1A is an 11-team league for this year and next, which doesn't sit well with Breland.
"I hate that we're in an 11-team region," Breland said. "That's one thing that I don't like. We started out the season playing region games. We didn't have any games to see what we needed to work on and that's not fair by any means.
"The MHSAA needs to change that. There's no sense in any team being put in an 11-team region.
"As far as Scott Central and South Leake being in there, there's nothing we can do about that. That's the way the chips fell. It just so happens there are a lot of talented teams in this region and in this area.
"If we were in a 10-team region, you never know what might happen, but being 11 teams, it kind of put us behind the eight ball with so many young guys having to play region games right off the bat."
"The region was already strong and to add two more teams to it that are of that caliber makes it extremely tough.
"I think again you're probably going to see this region sweep the first round of the playoffs and play for the state championship. Hopefully, somebody out of this region will win the state championship."