Out-of-rhythm Jackets finally find end zone

By Paul Jones/Special to the Journal

STARKVILLE – Starkville head coach Jamie Mitchell had a good idea of what was coming Saturday afternoon.
Facing McComb in a jamboree matchup at Mississippi State’s Davis Wade Stadium, the Jackets won a defensive contest 7-0.
Mitchell opens his second year at Starkville on Friday against rival Noxubee County. The challenge will be to get more experience for an offense lacking that experience at the skill positions.
“Today we look like a team that replaced every skill player on offense,” said Mitchell. “We just couldn’t ever get into a rhythm. But defensively, I thought we were very, very good and that is going to have to carry us for awhile.”
Starkville had three turnovers in the three-quarter scrimmage that featured the varsity teams playing two of those quarters. And naturally, said Mitchell, that inexperience on offense played a key role in those miscues.
“Sure it did,” said Mitchell. “We did lose every skill position player on offense but we are not going to use that as an excuse. We have guys that are capable of making plays and we’re going to get better.”
Starkville and McComb played a scoreless first quarter and neither team could get into a rhythm. Starkville threw an interception on the opening drive and it was more of the same in the second quarter.
The second quarter saw both teams turn the ball over on their initial drive. However, Starkville did produce the game’s lone touchdown with nine minutes left in the quarter. Sophomore running back Gabe Myles broke loose for a 45-yard touchdown run and the Jacket defense made the score hold up.
Junior linebackers Stanley Higgins and David Fair Jr. headlined the defensive attack.
“Well, we thought they would and we have some players over there on defense that can run,” said Mitchell. “They will have to carry us until we find a rhythm on offense. But they are up for that task and our speed on defense will help us a good bit this year. That speed can make up for a lot.”