September 1, 2014 8:42:45 PM
STARKVILLE -- Starkville High School senior quarterback Brady Davis made a verbal commitment to the University of Memphis during the summer.
His sole purpose in making that decision was so that he can spend all of his time and energy in guiding Starkville to its second Mississippi High School Activities Association state championship in three seasons.
So far, so good.
Through two games, Davis has thrown for 594 yards and nine touchdowns.
Starkville has beaten both Class 4A favorite Noxubee County and Class 5A favorite West Point. The Yellow Jackets are averaging 51.5 points per game.
"We have the type of offense that can do this against most teams," Davis said. "We just have to stay patient. We have to wait for the right time."
The right time came early and often Friday night as Davis threw for 411 yards and six touchdowns in a stunning 52-29 rout of then-No. 1 (Clarion-Ledger) and No. 2 (Associated Press) Oxford.
With the win, Starkville moved from third to first in the Clarion-Ledger Super 10 and is expected to do the same in this week's Associated Press rankings today.
For his efforts, Davis has been chosen as The Dispatch's Prep Player of the Week.
"Even though this is his first year with us, you can tell he is a veteran," Starkville coach Jamie Mitchell said. "He stepped right in and learned everything right away. You can't coach the leadership skills. He brought all of those things to our team from the very beginning."
Starkville senior running back Matt Fuller said Davis, a transfer from New Hope, became a Yellow Jacket right away.
"You could tell from the first practice that he was going to be our leader," Fuller said. "We had heard all of the things about what kind of athlete he was. Then when you see it on your field, you get excited, because you know he is now one of us."
Davis threw for 2,626 yards and 23 touchdowns last season at New Hope. A coaching change helped opened the door for a change of schools.
"I feel very fortunate to have this teammates around me," Davis said. "They really embraced me from the beginning. This is a special team. It is exciting when you go to practice and you have this many play-makers around you. It makes me you want to work hard to become even better."
Raphael Leonard had seven catches for 169 yards and three touchdowns in the win over Oxford. The victory was especially sweet for Starkville, after it lost last season's Little Egg Bowl matchup, 35-24.
"Brady is beginning to get a comfort level with all of the receivers," Leonard said. "We knew it was going to take a couple of games to get everything clicking. We feel like if the defense can make a stop or two and get us a couple of extra possessions, we can get the big lead and other team is in trouble."
Starkville did just that when two first-quarter defensive stops helped send the team to a 24-0 advantage.
With longtime rival West Point on the docket Friday night, Davis and his teammates will be ready.
"I believe in my guys," said Davis, after SHS' season-opening 51-19 win over Noxubee County. "I will take us against any team in the country right now."
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Scott is sports copy editor and reporter