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Starkville registers shutout of Callaway


David Miller



STARKVILLE -- Out of all the teams at the New Hope Fall jamboree, Starkville High School left the biggest stamp on Scott Field.  


Against three top offensive linemen recruits on a team that went 8-4 last season, the Yellow Jackets looked the like the polished, veteran team by beating Callaway 21-0 on Saturday.  


As for that vaunted Callaway offensive line? Just 31 rushing yards to show at the end of the two-quarter game.  


Starkville''s developing ground game led by sophomore backs? They were money as Preston Baker and Gabe Myles combined for 73 yards on 10 carries.  


Starkville quarterback Jaquez Johnson scored all three of the Jackets'' touchdowns, rushing for 35 yards on five carries to go along with 37 passing yards on 3-of-7 completions.  


The turnover battle was one-sided, too, as Garrett Smith and Jarrod Atterberry each recorded fumbles and were part of a Starkville effort that resulted in no giveaways.  


Needless to say, in first-year Starkville coach Jamie Mitchell''s jamboree debut, Saturday''s results were a success. 


"We''re very pleased with what we did today," Mitchell said. "Of course that doesn''t do anything for next week. (Week 1 opponent) Noxubee''s got a great football team, but I know from where we were this spring to where we are today, there''s no comparison. And they''ll continue to get better as they continue to learn what to do." 


Mitchell lauded the Jackets'' explosive start to the game as they scored on their first drive of 54 yards. The drive included a third-down conversion pass from Johnson to Kentrell Spencer and ended with the first of Johnson''s three touchdowns.  


Immediately following the score, Daniel Fumo''s skied kickoff was poorly fielded by the Chargers and ended up taking a bounce in the direction of Starkville''s coverage team, where  Smith recovered the ball at the Callaway 25-yard line.  


The Jackets needed just three plays to score and take a 14-0 lead. 


"We got a big break on the kickoff and were able to go up two touchdowns real quick," Mitchell said. "That was just huge. We played good defense -- not great defense -- but good defense." 


Sacks by Jakarta Agnew and Martavius Foster highlighted a stellar defensive day for the Jackets, who were out-weighed on the defensive line.  


"We really challenged them all week," Mitchell said. "They''ve got three D-1 guys up front, and I thought we just completely devastated the running game. We completely took that away from them and when you can make someone one-dimensional it makes things a little bit easier." 


So far in fall camp, Mitchell has been looking for a leader to emerge at tailback and for his team to fight through adversity better than it did in the spring. He admitted Saturday''s match didn''t provide adversity, but it brought much needed confidence for a team with new coaches and new systems. 


"We hope it''ll give us some carry over," Mitchell said." I''ve said all along we''ve got to have some good things happen to us early, and that happened today. I hope we''ll continue to have those things. We didn''t have a whole lot of adversity today, and that''s coming.  


"It''ll be interesting to see how we handle that." 


Friday, Mitchell and the Jackets host Noxubee County. 




Tigers run over West Lauderdale  


Noxubee County looked more than comfortable under first-year head coach Tyrone Shorter.  


Shorter, promoted from asssistant to head jcoach when M.C. Miller left for Harrison Central and later Louisville, watched his team sting West Lauderdale with eight plays of 10 yards or more en route to a 26-6 win. 


The Tigers ran for 156 yards on 19 carries in the two-quarter game, including 60 yards on eight carries from stout sophomore running back Antonio Ryland. 


Three of the Tigers'' four scores came on the ground. 


"Our key is our offensive line," Shorter said. "With three starters back and all seniors, we knew that would be our strength. Then we''ve got two sophomore running backs who are very talented. Our passing game still needs to improve, but the key to us being successful this year will be running the ball." 


After West Lauderdale took advantage of a shanked Noxubee County punt with a 1-yard touchdown run, the Tigers put the clamps on their Class 4A counterpart. 


Ryland capped an 80-yard drive with a 4-yard scoring run that tied the score 6-6. 


Ryland was one of a trio of Tigers to find success on the ground as quarterback Deangelo Ballard and Ladarrell Hunt combined for 103 yards on four carries.  


"With no film on West Lauderdale, we came in a bit blind," Shorter said. "We knew they were a good running team, and all it took was making the right adjustments. After that first drive, we were able to hold them and let our defense take over.  


Ballard ran untouched for a 56-yard score and did so after snagging a high snap. Prior to the score, Ballard bailed out teammate Darrell Robinson, who lost 19 yards on one carry, with a 23-yard run on the next down.  


The big plays were a welcome sight for Shorter.  


"(Ballard) made a good read on the zone option," Shorter said. "We saw what they were doing with their ends and he read it perfectly." 


West Lauderdale was without tight end and Mississippi State commitment Daniel Knox, who was out with a knee injury.  


West Lauderdale was led by running back Robert Sillimon with seven carries for 8 yards and a score. Quarterback Daniel Lott was 2-of-5 for 27 passing yards.  




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