By Tony Tsoukalas / firstname.lastname@example.org
The Meridian Star
After going up by five scores in the first half, Meridian did not have to do much work to beat Jim Hill 35-0 Friday night on homecoming. Although, given what he said was a lackluster performance by his team, Meridian head coach Larry Weems isn’t sure the Wildcats were exerting their full effort against the overmatched Tigers.
“That was horrible,” Weems said. “From start to finish, on both sides of the ball, I have nothing positive to say about the performance.”
Junior quarterback J’Mar Smith led the Wildcats, completing six-of-nine passes for 142 yards and two touchdowns in the air while also carrying the ball five times for 25 yards and a score on the ground.
“I just wanted to come out and have fun,” Smith said. “It’s homecoming, so we just wanted to come out here, do what we have to do to get a win and just have fun.”
Following a failed fake punt by Jim Hill early in the first quarter, Smith led the Wildcats 49 yards on six plays capped off by a 15-yard touchdown scamper on fourth-and-four to put Meridian up 7-0.
He would strike again on Meridian’s next possession, this time through the air, as he found receiver Corey Davis on a 28-yard touchdown pass to put the ‘Cats up 14-0.
A botched punt by the Tigers to start the second quarter gave Meridian the football on the Jim Hill 17-yard line. Running back Richard McQuarley made the Tigers pay on the next play, taking an option pitch from Smith and darting 17 yards down the left sideline for a touchdown. McQuarley finished the night with five carries for 25 yards and the score. The senior running back got the start after missing much of the Clinton game while nursing a sore left ankle.
“I feel a lot better,” he said. “I may not feel 100 percent, but I’m ready to go. I told coach I’m ready to go all the time, but he said he didn’t want to risk injuring me and stuff.”
Fullback Andrew Bator would add a one-yard touchdown run for the Wildcats, and Smith would find receiver Daniel Crowell for a 36-yard touchdown later in the quarter as Meridian went into the half up 35-0. The Wildcats came out in the second half playing their second-stringers on both offense and defense as they coasted to the easy win.
Meridian (4-1) will continue district play next week when the Wildcats hit the road to take on Provine (1-4).
“We need to decide to do something about the way we play, or we aren’t going to be a very good football team,” Weems said. “Teams are going to start getting pretty good here real soon.”