Football fanatics flood Meadville

Published 6:00 am Friday, November 24, 2006

Franklin County athletic director Johnny Monroe has seen somelarge crowds during his 33 years in athletics. He anticipates arecord turnout for tonight’s South State Class 3A showdown betweenthe Franklin County Bulldogs and the Hazlehurst Indians.

Expect bumper-to-bumper traffic in downtown Meadville. Arriveearly and plan to stay late. A projected, overflow crowd of5,000-plus is expected to fill Louie Mullins Memorial Stadium.

Monroe said the school administration, along with the Meadvillepolice and sheriff department, are making special preparations forcrowd control and accommodating everyone who purchases aticket.

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If you want a measuring stick, consider last year’s South Stateshowdown between Hazlehurst and South Pike. The Indians pulled offa 22-19 upset of the No. 1-ranked Eagles en route to winning theirfirst Class 3A state title. An estimated crowd of 5,000 witnessedthe event in Hazlehurst.

“It’s the game of the area,” said Monroe. “Nobody else isplaying. We are trying to prepare for a considerably larger crowdthan the Brookhaven-Franklin County game,” in 2005.

Monroe recalled the season-opening contest. He said the FranklinCounty home side bleachers can accommodate 2,400 folks. “Thevisitors side holds about 1,000. They were both full and they(fans) were out on the track.”

According to Monroe, the field will be roped off. The barrierwill keep fans off the sidelines. He said Hazlehurst has been askedto bring some law enforcement officers to the game, too. An extraset of bleachers has been moved to the visitors’ side of thestadium.

What about parking?

Monroe said there should be ample parking. There is circleparking in the junior high and high school parking lot. Handicapparking is located near the ticket booth.

“There’s a large yard that a church in the neighborhood allowspeople to park in,” said Monroe. The ticket booth will open at 5p.m.

What about restroom facilities?

Monroe said four portajohns were being trucked in for thespecial event.

How about food and drink?

The FCHS Band Booster Club runs the visitors’ side concessionstand. The football and soccer boosters share the home sideconcession stand.

So fire up the grills. “We’ll have hotdogs, hamburgers, popcorn,Frito pies and nachos available.” Add some candy and soft drinks,too.

“I know lots of food is being prepared,” said Monroe.

Meanwhile, Franklin County coach Grady McCluskey and Hazlehurstcoach Vernon Perry just want to coach their respective teams tovictory. Both teams boast explosive rushing attacks and hard-noseddefenses. It should be a classic.

Certainly, it will be a thrill for the players. Win or lose, thegame will be talked about all winter and next year, too.

Professor Hoopla B.S., agreed to leave his deer hunting houseand attend the game, too. He was dressed from head to foot in camogear so he wouldn’t be recognized.

Hoopla predicted the winners of 16 games last week and got 12right. Special congratulations to the Alcorn State Braves forproving the guessperts wrong.

Here’s a forecast of this weekend’s winners, starting with someFriday night high school playoff games.

Hazlehurst at Franklin County: Bulldogs win athriller in Meadville. Franklin County 24-22.

Copiah Academy at Porters Chapel: Colonelsboast a strong defense but not enough offense to ground the Eagles.Porters Chapel 20-7.

Wayne County at Terry: The host Bulldogs haveplayed well in the playoffs but the War Eagles have too manyweapons for them to handle. Wayne County 34-14.

Moving to Saturday’s collegiate scene, Hoopla pauses for anotherhelping of cranberry sauce before revealing the winners.

Mississippi State at Ole Miss: In this 103rdmeeting of the Rebels and Bulldogs, a large crowd gathers inVaught-Hemmingway Stadium. The Bulldogs have had enough injuries toadd a hospital wing to the athletic department building.Unpredictable Rebels avenge last year’s loss at Starkville. OleMiss 28-14.

Marshall at Southern Miss: Golden Eagles claimthe C-USA East Division title and a championship test with theHouston Cougars. USM 22-10.

Delta State at North Carolina Central: In roundtwo of the NCAA Division II playoffs, quarterback Scott Eysterpasses the Fighting Okra to victory. Delta State 32-27.

In the SEC, LSU over Arkansas 21-20, Floridaover Florida State 38-17, Georgia over Georgia Tech 20-7, Tennesseeover Kentucky 33-23, and South Carolina over Clemson 27-14.

Write to sports editor Tom Goetz, c/o The DAILY LEADER, P.O.BOX 551, Brookhaven, MS 39602 or