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Wildcat-Tide game could be very interesting

By By Marty Stamper / EMG sports assistant
Oct. 10, 2003
At first glance, Meridian's Region 3-5A game at Picayune tonight would appear to be yet another relatively easy win for the Wildcats.
After all, Picayune barely beat Hattiesburg 7-0 last week, while Meridian stomped the Tigers 31-7 two weeks ago.
In beating Hattiesburg, Picayune scored on its first possession and then turned the game over to its defense which proceeded to record its fourth shutout in six outings.
Here's where it gets interesting.
The Maroon Tide was playing without running back Justin Magee, who was benched for disciplinary actions. So was linebacker Brandon Walls. Magee happens to be the team leader in rushing and scoring with 10 touchdowns. He ranks second in 3-5A in scoring with 62 points.
Also out with a bum knee was fullback Cody Bales.
"To me, it's as good as any I've ever had," Picayune head coach Dodd Lee told the Picayune Item of the win.
Lester Robinson, a junior, filled in for Magee and had 95 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries.
Both teams have also faced the bungling Bulldogs of Natchez with Meridian winning 60-14 last week and Picayune cruising 54-0 the week before.
Other Maroon Tide wins are over Moss Point (30-0), Gulfport (35-7), and Biloxi (14-0) with its lone loss coming to Harrison Central (20-18).
The teams have met seven times over the years with Meridian holding a 5-2 advantage.
Their first meeting was in 1924 with Picayune winning 30-10. Their second matchup had Meridian rolling 53-0 in 1950. Meridian also won 27-0, 33-7, and 21-0 in the season openers from 1971-73.
The Maroon Tide knocked off Meridian 21-7 in the first round of the playoffs in 1986 with the Wildcats returning the favor with a 41-13 spanking in the first round of the 1989 playoffs.
Class 1A Battle Royale
Fans who like small school battles will do well to journey to Scott Central to see the Rebels take on Puckett for the Region 3-1A lead.
Both are 6-0 in 3-1A. Puckett is the defending Class 1A state champion, while Scott Central has moved down in classification after a two-year stint in Class 2A.
One Likely To Go
Neshoba Central and Ridgeland will go a long way toward settling which team advances to the playoffs when they meet tonight at Philadelphia.
Neshoba Central's last trip to the playoffs was in 1997. Ridgeland, a second-year school, competed as an independent in 2002.
Neshoba Central graduate Kenny Burton leads the Titans with several other folks with Neshoba County connections either on his coaching staff or on his team.
Should be a Dandy
West Lauderdale and Newton have had some hard-fought battles over the years. Tonight's game at Collinsville should be no exception.
The two haven't met since a 12-0 Newton win in 1992 as the Tigers since dropped to Class 2A. Newton has won the last seven meetings to take an 8-6 lead in the series.
Rounding it Out
In other games, Louisville hosts Tuscaloosa Northridge, Northeast Lauderdale is at Wayne County, Southeast Lauderdale visits Choctaw Central, Quitman hosts Mendenhall, Newton County goes to Morton, Clarkdale is at Williams-Sullivan, Nanih Waiya hosts Kemper County, Philadelphia is at Lake, Union hosts Sebastopol, Noxapater hosts Pelahatchie, Lamar goes to Columbus to take on Heritage Academy, Leake Academy goes to Pelahatchie to face East Rankin Academy, Heidelberg Academy hosts Oak Hill Academy of West Point, Kemper Academy is at Calhoun Academy, Central Academy is at Hebron Christian in Pheba, Newton County Academy goes to Flowood's University Christian School, and Winston Academy visits Starkville Academy.

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