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Loyd Star hosting McLaurin in home opener

A familiar face will be on the visitor sidelines of W.E. “Sambo” Smith Field Friday night when the Loyd Star Hornets host the McLaurin Tigers.

The Tigers are coached by former Loyd Star head coach Sid Wheatley, who is in his second year as the head coach at his alma mater.

Wheatley came to Loyd Star as an assistant to Anthony Hart and served in that role on the 2001 team that finished 11-2 and lost in the south state finals. When Hart left for Franklin County, Wheatley took over and coached the team from 2002-2003. His inaugural team finished 3-7 before turning it around with a 10-1 record the next season. Wheatley also served as head baseball coach during his time at the school.

McLaurin went 1-10 last season but opened this season with a 19-8 win over Bogue Chitto last week. Loyd Star head coach Brian Ford can see improvement in the Tigers from a season ago.

“They’ve got some kids that stuck with it after last year and they do a good job of trying to control the tempo with their running game,” said Ford.

Last season Loyd Star beat McLaurin 24-8 to give Ford his first win as Hornets coach.

In their 45-13 win over Sacred Heart last week, Loyd Star was paced by senior running back Quan Berry who rushed for 176 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries.

Senior quarterback Dane Smith was perfect in the passing game, going 9-for-9 for 127 yards and two touchdowns.

Braden Ezell led the Hornet defense with eight total tackles against Sacred Heart.

“It’s going to be important for our defensive line to be physical at the point of attack and tackle well against McLaurin,” said Ford.

Kickoff at Loyd Star is set for 7 p.m.

Story by Cliff Furr