Meridian High School's road match-up with Brandon couldn't come at a better time . After last week's disappointing loss to rival Oak Grove, the Wildcats are 5-2 and still looking for a season-defining win against one of the state's elite teams.
They're lead by C.J. Hampton. The Senior safety recently accepted his invitation to play in the U.S. Army All-American Game held each January in San Antonio, TX.
"You know, Oak Grove's in the past, and it doesn't matter," said Hampton. "Whatever happened happened, but we're focused on Brandon right now... that's the only thing on our mind right now."
With last week's loss to Petal as their only blemish, Brandon has been unanimously called the state's best team since the preseason. But at the end of Thursday's practice, Meridian Head Coach Larry Weems told his team to ignore their surroundings, saying that the field in Brandon, MS will be the same as that at MHS, and that's all that matters.
He also noted the Wildcats still haven't hit their ceiling.
"Coach said we really haven't played our best," said running back Richard McQuarley. "We really haven't played a full game. I told the guys that they gotta push forward and do what they gotta do to help the team."
Though they have size and athleticism, the Wildcats are still a young team. Only 18 of the 60 roster spots are occupied by seniors. McQuarley said there are a lot of young guys on the sideline who haven't quite picked up on the speed of high school football.
McQuarley says he believes Meridian is capable of making a run at the state championship, but teams like their next two opponents, Brandon and No. 3 Petal, are who they must beat to get there.