By Tony Tsoukalas / firstname.lastname@example.org
The Meridian Star
The Meridian Wildcats might be without star running back Richard McQaurley tonight when they host Clinton at 7 p.m. The senior injured his left ankle during the Wildcats' 29-22 win at Quitman in Week 2 and reinjured it again during the second quarter against South Panola last week. He had nine carries for 18 yards before leaving the game in the second half.
While MHS head coach Larry Weems has not ruled McQuarley out for tonight's game, he does intend to proceed with caution in terms of how much playing time he is willing to give the ailing back.
“He's about where he was this time last week,” Weems said. “He's not 100 percent. We'll just really have to evaluate come tomorrow night. I think he could play, but I don't know that it is worth injuring something worse if he can't play to a level that can be affective.”
If McQuarley is out, the Wildcats will look to lean on seniors Austin Holt and Ed Glenn out of the backfield. Holt rushed for 55 yards on 16 carries last week against the Tigers.
“I like our running backs,” Weems said. “I liked them coming into the year. Those kids are going to play hard and do whatever we ask them to do. They have been with us for three years, and know what it takes to get the job done.
The Wildcats will also need more production out of quarterback J'Mar Smith. The junior quarterback has had his moments this season, throwing for seven touchdowns to just one interceptions. But, he has been unable to sustain consistency in his play resulting in a completion percentage of .453 on the season.
“I've been around J'Mar enough to know he has the ability, and you just expect him to make the right play every time,” Weems said. “Nobody ever does that every time at any level, but still the expectation is there.”
Consistency is something he said he has been preaching to his team this week, especially when it comes to finishing drives, because the inability played a crucial role in last week's loss to South Panola.
“Except for the fourth quarter, I thought we drove the ball pretty well last week against an excellent team,” Weems said. “What we didn't do is finish. Especially in the first half, we didn't get any points out of them. The play was there, the ball was there and we just didn't convert. All of a sudden, if we had 21 points at the half instead of seven, it's a whole new game.”
Clinton (1-2) allowed 44 points to Pearl in Week 1 and 38 points to Brandon last week. However, Weems said those scores are not indicative of how the Arrows play on defense.
“They have some talented kids,” he said. “They aren't giving up many of those points on defense. They have given some points up in the games, but it's been on turnovers.
“They have a really young group that is going to be a pain in people side in a few years. They just need to play, and you see them get better every week. I hope they make a few more mistakes though for us Friday night.”
Tonight's game will wrap up Meridian's non-conference schedule as the Wildcats will head into a bye next week before hosting Jim Hill for their district opener on Sept. 27.