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Starkville High's Mitchell chosen to lead Team Mississippi in all-star battle


Matthew Stevens



STARKVILLE -- Starkville High School coach Jamie Mitchell will be the head coach of Team Mississippi in the 2014 Mississippi-Alabama All Star Game.  


The Yellow Jackets head coach was informed of his nomination by the executive committee Wednesday after spending three games as an assistant coach in the game that features the best football talent in the neighboring states.  


The game will be played at the Cramton Bowl in Montgomery, Ala., and Mitchell has already selected his coaching staff for the contest to be played on Saturday, Dec. 20.  


"They changed the rule a few years back to allow me to serve on this staff for a fourth year and I'm so grateful to have one more opportunity to win this game, now as a head coach, for the state of Mississippi," Mitchell said. 


Mitchell spent the last two seasons on the Team Mississippi coaching staff as an assistant and was the scout coach last year. In his four seasons at Starkville, Mitchell has registered a 38-16 record including the 2012 Class 5A state championship. Mitchell has won a playoff game in each of the last three seasons with the Yellow Jackets. 


"It's just an overwhelming sense of pride to be able to be the head coach of this game and represent my state in the best possible way," Mitchell said. "When (Mississippi Coaches Association chairman and Brandon High School coach) Brad Peterson told me you immediately think of how many good coaches there are in this state and only one gets this honor." 


Starkville enters the upcoming 2014 season as a favorite to compete for the Class 6A state championship and Mitchell has been a prominent figure in rebuilding the Yellow Jackets program since being hired in 2010. Mitchell said that while the determinations to fill the 2014 roster for Team Mississippi begins this week, his first responsibility will be to his program at Starkville.  


"I think that becomes a complete time management issue because it certainly adds on a little bit to your plate," Mitchell said. "I can honestly say Starkville will come first and there better never be any questions about that." 


Mitchell's offensive coaching staff will consist of Pearl's John Perry as offensive coordinator, wide receiver coach will be Tony Vance from Hattiesburg and Itawamba Agricultural High School's Toby Collins will be in charge of quarterbacks and running backs.  


The Team Mississippi defensive effort will be coordinated by Tupelo's Trent Hammond, defensive line coach will be Bassfield's Lance Mancuso and linebackers coach will be Chad Cook from Ripley.  


The Mississippi team has lost the contest six times in a row and Mitchell announced Thursday this game will be his final attempt to represent the state on the coaching staff. The six wins in a row by Alabama tied the series record set by Alabama from 1999-2004. Alabama's All-Stars won the first four games (1988-91), and Mississippi won four in a row from 1992-95. Mississippi took a 14-7 lead into halftime last year and Mitchell is determined in his final crack at stopping the streak to bring a victory to the Magnolia State.  


"I promise everybody this: we're going to turn every screw we can to make a victory happen," Mitchell said. "I feel great about the staff we have. I'll make this promise to every coach too: we'll check out every kid we have to in order to do a complete evaluation so we can have the right 40 players." 


Follow Matt Stevens on Twitter @matthewcstevens.



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