Opposing viewpoint: Meridian

Meriidian's Kendrick Brown
Staff Writer

Some of the state’s best talent can traditionally be found in Meridian and the Wildcats boast a proud program.

Former head coaches Mac Barnes and Larry Weems enjoyed tremendous success at the school before getting out of the MHSAA and moving into the private school sector where they’re continuing to win at Lamar School and Jackson Academy respectively.

Calvin Hampton is in his second season at the school trying to continue what the legendary coaches built in front of him.

Hampton’s first squad produced a 10-4 year and were bounced from the playoffs by eventual South State champion Pearl in the second round. While the Wildcats are off to a rough 1-2 start, it came with losses to Class 6A contender Tupelo 34-25, Alabama powerhouse Hoover 42-7 and a win against Noxubee County last week 35-20.

“They always have great players up there every year," Starkville High School coach Chris Jones said. "(Hampton) has done a good job ever since Weems left. They kind of started off slow this year, but they played some good competition and had some key guys missing who will be back this week."

One of those players back is Dandy Dozen four-star defensive end Deuntra Hyman, an Ole Miss commitment. Hyman has been dealing with a leg injury for several months but finally seems to be cleared and ready to go.
It makes for a tough matchup against SHS’ offensive line, but offensive tackle Kameron Jones isn’t concerned. Jones is using last year’s 20-10 loss at Meridian as motivation.

“I’m expecting them to come off aggressive, but I’m sure it’s nothing that we can’t handle,” Kameron Jones said. “They have big guys that are aggressive, but you can’t be too scared going into it. We played them before and got beat. We’ve got to go back in it angry.”

The defense gets the biggest boost this week and should be something that allows the offense to relax a little more than in recent weeks. It’s an offense that has already had some success with Tevarrius Adams at quarterback. In three games, the junior has thrown for 674 yards and five touchdowns and leads the team with his 160 yards rushing. He’s shown some issues in his control with seven interceptions and coach Jones and the defense will prepare to make him uncomfortable.

Rodrigues Mosley and Jaqarius Dean will attempt to help him out in the backfield and both have nearly 150 yards on the ground this season.

“Offensively, they’ve got a quarterback that can make plays and that’s always a plus to have guys that can make plays when there’s not a play to be made,” coach Jones said. “We’ve got to make sure we play assignment football. They make plays by extending it. We’ll be prepared come Friday.”