They are well aware.
When Meridian High School visits Terry High School tonight, the Wildcats know what’s at stake. A third Division 3-6A loss last week has kept MHS in must-win mode as the year winds down.
Meridian, 6-3 overall, is sixth in the division at 2-3. With four teams tied one spot in front of them and two weeks remaining in the season, the Wildcats have a decent chance of making the playoffs. But to do that, winning out is basically a must.
“We must win to give ourselves a chance,” Meridian coach larry Weems said.
After each of Meridian’s previous two losses, the Wildcats responded with wins. Following the 54-41 division-opening defeat at Natchez, MHS rebounded with a 42-13 thumping of Hattiesburg. After Oak Grove used a huge comeback to shock the Wildcats 31-28, MHS pulled off its own dramatic turnaround in edging Brandon 38-25. So, will Meridian again bounce back? Weems certainly hopes so.
“They understand the situation and it will be interesting to see how we respond,” he said. “The kids know what’s at stake and hopefully they respond in a positive way, but we won’t know that until (to)night.
“You have to be prepared to play no matter where it’s at. Hopefully we’ll be ready to come out and play like we should and give ourselves a chance to win.”
But it won’t be easy. While the Bulldogs are winless in the division, Terry did win three of its four non-division games and has lost some heartbreakers within the district. Natchez edged Terry 20-16 on Sept. 28 and last week the Bulldogs fell 21-14 to Forest Hill.
Terry also has weapons. Senior quarterback Jarius Moore has thrown for 1,245 yards and seven touchdowns while rushing for 1,148 yards and eight touchdowns. Senior running back Jamal Blackmon has added 756 yards and eight scores. Darrell Williams and Titus Ivory provide big-play threats at wide receiver.
“Good team, solid,” Weems said. “Their skill guys can make some plays and coach (Wade) Henderson has done a good job. They have made a lot of progress in a year. They are vastly improved and are certainly capable of getting a win.
“They’ve got a couple guys that can run it and some good wideouts. They’ve got some playmakers now and if they get going, they’ll be hard to hold.”
The Wildcats counter with a balanced attack headline by sophomore quarterback J-Mar Smith. The 6-foot-3 Smith has thrown for 1,449 yards and 13 touchdowns and has added 421 yards and seven touchdowns rushing. Joining him in the MHS backfield have been junior Richard L. McQuarley, who missed last week’s game against Petal with an ankle injury but has rushed for 807 yards and seven scores, and junior Austin Holt, who has added 503 yards but took a shot to the knee last week against the Panthers.
“We hope he’ll be able to go,” Weems added. “But that’s part of it. Everybody has guys that are banged up and you just have to roll with the ones you’ve got and hope you’ve got enough to get through it.”
They are well aware.
Fundamentals leading Newton County to Jackson
In 2006, Newton County baseball won the 3A state title. Since then, they've moved up a class but haven't had much luck – until now.
Roy takes over as football head coach at Clarkdale
After nine years serving as an assistant on the Clarkdale football coaching staff, Wes Roy proudly considers himself a Bulldog. The coach has not only grown to love the team and its players, but also the Clarkdale community itself.
Bennett stays on as softball coach at Clarkdale
In one season as the interim coach for the Clarkdale softball team, Britt Bennett has gone through what most coaches go through in a career. Over the past year, Clarkdale has dealt with the death of two students, a coaching scandal and the departure of two star players.
Titles nothing new for Newton County
Newton County captured its seventh fast-pitch state championship, outscoring defending champion Houston 26-3 in two games. The Cougars took home the title despite not having a single senior on their roster –– still, few were surprised.
Embry completes 5A title sweep
In his first year coaching the Neshoba Central softball team, Trae Embry won two state titles but wouldn't take all the credit.
Morgan takes runner-up at Nationals
Meridian Community College golfer, TJ Morgan, from Bruce, MS, tied for the
individual medalist at the NJCAA D1 National Championship held in Lubbock, TX, but lost on the first hole of a playoff. TJ shot 7 under for the tournament with a 76 on the first day followed by 68, 67 and a last round 70. Aksel Olsen from Wallace State Community College won the playoff. TJ was named First Team All-American for his high finish.
MSU’s Renfroe wins Ferriss Trophy
The first time Mississippi State coach John Cohen saw Hunter Renfroe play baseball, he marveled at his natural ability.
Three years later, he's also in awe of his work ethic.
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