Wildcats look to finish with win

By By Tony Krausz / assistant sports editor
Nov. 7, 2003
The regular-season football finale is just the beginning for the Meridian High School Wildcats (6-4, 4-2 Division 3-5A).
When Meridian High suits up tonight to take on Northwest Rankin High School, the team will already be guaranteed a spot in the playoffs.
The Wildcats secured their spot in the postseason by virtue of the team's 24-0 win over the Hancock High School Hawks last week, but the squad still has plenty to play for in its last game.
Meridian High would be the No. 3-seed entering the playoffs with a win, but a loss will drop the team to No. 4 in the division.
The Wildcats may be playing for playoff positioning, but the Northwest Rankin Cougars have even more on the line in the season finale.
Because Northwest lost its game last week, the Cougars are playing for their playoff lives tonight.
The Cougars also provide a dangerous challenge for opposing defenses.
Fueled by powerful running back Jeremy Bibbs and an accurate quarterback, Northwest keeps defenses on its toes throughout a contest.
The Cougars continuously shift personnel on the line, sending players in motion across the front and in the backfield.
Meridian High will try not to let the constant motion of Northwest shake up its defense.
Stanley said the coaching staff feels it has come up with a plan to allow the defense to not have to worry too much about the Cougars continuous motion.
On offense, the Wildcats will run into a well-prepared pack of Cougars defenders.
Northwest fields an impressive offensive line, and the squad has linebackers that have been able to disrupt opposing offenses.
Even though the Wildcats are coming off a win on the road last week, Meridian High will need to improve its play on the field as it heads into the playoffs.
Meridian High's defense was constantly flagged for lining up and jumping offsides, the Wildcats had one of the poorest tackling performances against the Hawks.
On offense, Meridian High struggled to gets its footing, gaining only 93 yards in the first half against Hancock, with 85 of the yards coming on one run by Cordae Campbell.
The Wildcats are scheduled to kick off against Cougars at 7:30 tonight.