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Prep titans clash under the lights

By By Marty Stamper / EMG sports assistant
Oct. 24, 2003
What may be the high school football game of the year, at least what is the most anticipated game of the year, is less than 24 hours away as Wayne County hosts West Jones tonight in a battle of unbeaten state powers.
Both teams are 8-0 and have run roughshod over their opponents thus far.
Wayne County has demolished Columbus (13-0), Madison Central (48-0), McComb (28-13), Florence (56-0), Quitman (35-0), Slidell (La.) Salmen (41-14), Northeast Lauderdale (40-0) and Mendenhall (49-6).
West Jones has lined up and whipped Laurel (21-14), Magee (41-12), South Jones (41-0), Mendenhall (33-6), Taylorsville (36-0), Northeast Jones (33-7), Florence (51-0) and Quitman (45-14).
Despite their proximity, the War Eagles and Mustangs have met only four times previously. After playing in 1991 and 1992, the teams didn't meet again until 1999 when West Jones won 25-14 at Soso. Wayne County repaid that loss, taking the 2000 game 12-0 at Waynesboro and the two haven't faced off since.
A crowd of up to 7,000 is expected.
Life in Lauderdale
In games involving Lauderdale County teams, West Lauderdale, 6-2, looks to maintain a share of the Division 5-3A lead when the Knights travel to Morton, 3-5. The Panthers hold a 5-2 lead in the series which began in 1986. Morton also scored the most points the Knights have ever allowed in a 61-0 beatdown in 1989.
Northeast Lauderdale, 3-5, hosts Mendenhall, 1-7, needing a win to keep the Trojans' playoff hopes alive. You can bet Northeast will also be rooting for Northeast Jones to knock off Quitman. The Trojans would win a head-to-head tiebreaker with Northeast Jones, but would fall short in a head-to-head tie with Quitman.
Northeast has never beaten Mendenhall as the Tigers have won all eight previous meetings in the series which began in 1991.
Clarkdale, 2-6, looks to clinch a playoff berth when the Bulldogs host Kemper County, 1-7. The series is even at one win apiece.
Southeast Lauderdale hopes to keep 2003 from being remembered as Clarkdale-and-nine when the Tigers, 1-7, host Division 5-3A co-leader Newton County, 4-4. The Cougars have won four straight in the series to take a 6-5 advantage.
Cake and ice cream
Other than having to make a long trip to Gallman (located between Crystal Springs and Hazlehurst), the Lamar Raiders should have an easy time improving to 8-1 when they take on offensively inept Copiah Academy, 1-8. The Colonels are averaging less than a touchdown per game. In nine games, Copiah is averaging 4.6 points per game.
Lamar has a 3-2 lead in the series which began in 1998.
Cats and Dogs
Meridian and Brandon meet for the 18th time tonight at Ray Stadium. Meridian has a 10-7 edge in the series which began in 1987. Brandon has won the last two meetings, 16-14 in 2001 and 24-0 last year when the Wildcats' big payback plans fell flat in Rankin County.
The teams have swapped opponents the last two weeks with Meridian losing 17-14 at Picayune and 28-21 at Oak Grove. Brandon lost 48-15 to Picayune and 28-7 to Oak Grove.
Wanted Posters?
Can you believe Louisville gave head football coach Joe Gant the axe just because he took down pictures of Rod Baker and Moine Nicholson that hung in the field house?
Just because the two are convicted felons currently doing time? How dare he shame those local legends just because they're criminals?
Baker is in Parchman for two counts of uttering forgery and one count of grand larceny, while Nicholson is in the Kemper County Correctional Facility for one count each of selling cocaine and selling marijuana.