December 2, 2012 1:21:56 AM
Matthew Stevens - firstname.lastname@example.org
JACKSON -- Gabe Myles capped his Starkville High School career in fine fashion Saturday night.
Before the three-star prospect heads to Mississippi State University, where he likely will play defensive back, Myles' final high school game ended with him gaining 142 total yards and playing a key role in four touchdowns in Starkville's 28-11 victory against Pascagoula in the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 5A state title game at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
Myles, who quarterbacked the Yellow Jackets' loss to Picayune last year in the Class 5A state championship, finally accomplished what his father, Eddie, did in the early 1980s before he went on to play at MSU.
Along with the title of proud father, Eddie Myles played the role of team photographer Saturday, as he snapped photos on the same field where he won a state title almost 30 years earlier.
"He has never talked any trash about state championships, but all he has told me is go out and work hard to win it," Gabe Myles said. "The most important he has always said is go have fun."
Myles finished the season with 24 touchdowns. Since the moment Myles walked off Veterans Memorial Stadium last season, the 185-pound athlete was determined to make sure he left the field with a different feeling.
"We were thinking about this game ever since we lost last year," Myles said. Myles helped Starkville win the North State title by leading the game-winning drive against West Point. He followed his fourth-and-goal touchdown pass from the 15-yard-line with a 2-yard scramble in a 29-28 victory.
"Gabe Myles is a phenomenal athlete but a hundred times better person," Starkville coach Jamie Mitchell said. "He is a class guy, and we wouldn't be here without him."
n Starkville, Columbus to renew rivalry in Class 6A: Starkville's re-introduction to the highest classification of football in the state of Mississippi will look extremely familiar to them in terms of opponents.
Starkville will be in a region next next season with Columbus, Madison Central, Northwest Rankin, Clinton, Greenville, Murrah, and Warren Central.
Starkville hasn't played Columbus since the final game of the 2010 regular season, a 34-32 loss that eliminated it from playoff contention. The Jackets executed a perfect 14-game conference winning streak in their tenure in Class 5A, and became one of three Starkville High teams to reach the state championship game in back-to-back years.
"It honestly hasn't come up with our team, but here's the deal: When it does, we'll tell them the expectations don't change," Mitchell said. "We want to win region titles and go to Jackson in Class 6A, and (we) think we have the depth and talent coming through to do just that."
With Madison Central in its region, Starkville will have to fill a non-league date.
Mitchell has said Starkville won't change the annual non-league home-and-home series with West Point since the teams won't be in the same classification.
"I don't think we'll do anything further with that game," Mitchell said. "My issue was having to play them twice in one season because you'd likely have to go through the two of us for the North Half title."
Starkville's annual non-league opponents traditionally have been West Point, Louisville, Madison Central, and Noxubee County.
Noxubee County (16-0) beat Greene County 16-6 to win the Class 4A state title in the middle game Saturday.