By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal
Tupelo entered the second half of last week’s Division 1-6A game against Starkville trailing by 19 points.
Two fumbles and one interception later, the Golden Wave trailed by 40 points on its way to its first loss of the season, 47-14, to the Yellowjackets.
“Things just snowballed,” Tupelo defensive coordinator Lamar Aldridge said, referring to his unit’s second half against Starkville. “Starkville executed and played well. We had some adverse things happen and didn’t overcome them.”
Golden Wave head coach David Bradberry saw a number of things he didn’t like in the loss.
“The whole game, offensively and defensively, we did some things we hadn’t done in the first four games,” he said. “Starkville has a good football team, but we helped them more than we have any team this year.”
The road to the postseason doesn’t get any easier this week for Bradberry’s Wave (4-1, 1-1), which travels to Southaven (6-0, 2-0) for a 7 p.m. kickoff Friday.
The host Chargers have a high-powered spread attack that features 6-foot-5, 230-pound quarterback Dominique Harris, who has completed 49 of 82 passes for 1,240 yards and 20 touchdowns. He’s thrown just one interception.
As a junior, Harris passed for 2,232 yards and 26 scores.
“He’s a big-time player,” Aldridge said. “They can run and throw. They have good, speedy receivers. They’re also big up front.”
The team’s top receivers are Anthony Williams and Tysean Norris. The two have combined for 22 catches, 618 yards and 12 touchdowns – six apiece.
When the Chargers run, they look to 5-8, 185-pound back Chris Rice, who has rushed for 390 yards and scored five touchdowns. He ran for a season-high 127 yards in last week’s 35-14 win against Columbus.
Tupelo can counter on the ground with its star running back, Ashton Shumpert, who was held to a season-low 36 yards last week by Starkville. He entered the game averaging 129 yards per contest.
“Starkville can run on defense,” Bradberry noted on Shumpert’s struggles. “That makes a difference. It’s harder to get a seam.”
Following Friday’s game, Tupelo returns home for its “Y’all vs. Us” televised division home game against No. 1-rated South Panola.