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Trojans prep for Southern

Meadowview’s first home game in more than a month did the Trojans some good.

They handed Escambia Academy its ninth loss of the season in a convincing 46-0 win last week.

“It was great to be back home and get the win,” said Meadowview coach Rick Jackson. “Winning heals a lot of things. The offense scored quick, and we took the lead, and we were able to take advantage of some things they were giving us.”

The win also provided a big confidence boost for a much-maligned defense that allowed no fewer than 22 points in each of its prior six contests.

Now the Trojans have an opportunity to build on success against Southern Academy (7-1), an opponent that has given the Trojans’ trouble in recent years.

“They’re one of the top teams in the state of Alabama,” said Jackson. “They’ve had our number the last few years as well as a lot of people’s number. They’re very, very good. We’ve got our work cut out for us.”

The Cougars won last year’s regular season matchup 44-12, then beat the Trojans 48-0 in the AISA Class AA state finals. They are coming off a 42-14 win over Wilcox Academy last week.

Based on recent history, scoring will not be Meadowview’s problem. The Trojans (4-4) have moved the ball well in all but two of their games, and even with a shutout on the resume, the Trojans are averaging more than 32 points per game.

However, the defense that played such an important part in Meadowview’s run to Troy last year is giving up points at a clip of almost 30 per contest.

“It’s a tough matchup for us,” said Jackson. “We’ve put a lot of combinations on the field defensively trying to find the right pieces. It’s been our weakness. We give up so many big plays and short drives.”

Making the contest tougher is Jackson’s health. He has been under the weather the last two weeks and spent the Escambia game in the press box.

As a result, Meadowview headmaster/assistant coach Michael Gaylor led practice in Jackson’s absence last week.

“The boys have responded extremely well,” said Gaylor. “We’ve had some real good leadership. To be honest, I haven’t had to do much coaching.”

A win over Southern keeps the Trojans’ playoff hopes alive. A loss ends Meadowview’s postseason hopes.

“We need to get this win. Without this win, there’s no opportunity at all,” said Jackson. “We need to come out and play with intensity and energy and play inspired. We’ve got to play with a no surrender attitude.”