Saints, Hounds play waiting game

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 17, 2006

It&8217;s time to mark the calendars. This may be only the fourth week of high school football coming up Friday, but it&8217;s pretty clear already that Oct. 20 will feature the game of the year in the Miss-Lou, if not in the entire MPSA.

On that day, Trinity Episcopal and Huntington will finally face their biggest challenge &8212; each other.

Thus far this season, the Saints and Hounds have outscored their opponents by a few decimal points short of 40 points per game, and neither side has seen its starters play much in the second half yet.

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Trinity has gained big leads largely on the legs of LSU-signee Stevan Ridley, although an article earlier this week showed there are plenty of Trinity players contributing to the big numbers.

Huntington has made waves with quarterback Terrence Johnson and running backs Jody Cottongin and Ricky Dunbar.

Both teams have exhibited stout defenses thus far, with each pitching its first shutout last Friday night.

It didn&8217;t take long to realize that this game might be special &8212; it became pretty obvious after both team&8217;s performances two weeks ago (Trinity&8217;s 42-7 win over Copiah Academy and Huntington&8217;s 46-20 win over Claiborne Academy).

Coach Chad Harkins has worked wonders in a short time since taking the helm last year after leaving Block. A chronic underachiever now seems poised to compete for a state title, and Trinity may be the only thing standing in their way.

Big things were expected of coach David King and the Saints heading into the season, but they&8217;ve seemed more dominant than anyone could have predicted.

It&8217;s evident that last year&8217;s disappointing finish in the playoffs has carried over as motivation for this year&8217;s team.

It&8217;s obviously early to start making grandiose claims about this game &8212; plenty could happen between now and then. But the concept of two teams from this immediate area playing the biggest game of the season right here is something we should all be excited about.

Hopefully, each team can stay healthy over the next few weeks and continue their winning ways. If everything holds, it will be No. 1 vs. No. 2 on the campus of Trinity Episcopal.

Two other pleasant surprises have been the Natchez High and Franklin County Bulldogs. Both teams seemed poised to improve, but the impressive fashion in which they&8217;ve jumped to their 3-0 starts has been something to behold.

Natchez has won in virtually every way imaginable already, with a 70-0 blowout, a 12-6 defensive struggle and a sloppy 37-20 win. Franklin County has won two close games over pretty good teams, so they&8217;ll be prepared when they come to Natchez Friday night.

Look for plenty more on all the area teams in the coming weeks. In the meantime, we&8217;ll be counting down the days until Oct. 20.

Tim Cottrell is the sports editor of The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached by phone at 601-445-3632 or by e-mail at