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>Wilkinson Co. heads Region 6-3A poll

As Region 6-3A goes, so does the Wilkinson County Wildcats. Thetwo-time defending champions of the former Division 6-3A, sit highatop The Daily Leader’s 2001 Region 6-3A PreseasonFootball Poll as favorites to three-peat as regional champions.

Despite losing four seniors off a playoff bound 11-2 team lastyear. The Wildcats earned 35 overall votes on five first placevotes, as the team to beat in the Region by their opposingcoaches.

“It’s an honor being selected number one in the preseason,” saidWilkinson County Wildcat coach John Moore.

“We lost four really good seniors last year, that went bothways. Our biggest holes will be linebacker and fullback.”

The linebacker and fullback position, Moore is referring to isthe loss of graduated senior and Southern Jaguar signee MarkFrederick. Frederick a 5-10, 205 pounder paced the Wildcats forwell over 1,000 offense and nearly 140 tackles defensively.

“When you lose a player like Mark, your whole team loses astep.” Added Moore. “We’ve just got to keep things going like we doeach and improve on our mistakes.”

For the Wildcats, mistakes in the region haven’t happen in awhile. The Wildcats have posted an impressive 14 game winningstreak over the last two and a quarter years. And coach Mooredoesn’t want it to stop just yet.

“It’s going to happen sooner or later,” said Moore. “Our youngerguys are going to have to step up for us to continue oursuccess.”

Placing second in the poll, was the young up start FranklinCounty Bulldogs with 29 overall votes and two first place votes.The Bulldogs lost 17 seniors off a disappointing 3-7 team, butcoach Michael Goff has his Dawgs groomed and ready for a hopefullybrighter 2001 campaign.

Coming in third and fourth, were the Amite County Trojans andthe Hazlehurst Indians. The Trojans gained 23 votes overall and theIndians 22. Both schools are in a rebuilding mode after losing boththeir offensive and defensive lines.

Placing fifth were the always unpredictable Jefferson CountyTigers. The Tigers finished last season 3-7, by up setting formerdivision rival Port Gibson. The Blue Waves stay in the region wasminimal, as they returned to their old roots in Region 6-4A.

Placing sixth is newly acclaimed member Crystal Springs. TheTigers where best known as the doormat to the Division 6-4A. With amove down the Tigers my make some noise. Despite the move down from4A to 3A, the Tigers could only muster 12 overall votes.

Placing last were the North Pike Jaguars with 11 overall votes.The Jaguars impressed some area coachesduring the Franklin CountySpring Jamboree. But none of the Region 6-3A coaches give theJaguars much of a chance.

With the new rules in place for a postseason play, four teamscan come out of Region 6-3A and enter the playoffs. So really allthat’s needed is two district wins and a possible third and yourplayoff fate is pretty much certain.

“It’s going to be interesting,” said North Pike coach AdamBarron. “Wilkinson and Franklin return a good bit this year; pastthem it’s fair game.”

Last year Franklin County and Port Gibson shared top honors asDivision 6-3A preseason favorites. But Wilkinson County and AmiteCounty placed one and two.