STARKVILLE – In last week’s season-opening loss at Noxubee County, Starkville coach Jamie Mitchell often used the word “embarrassed” to describe that setback.
He was much happier Friday night, after a 16-14 win over highly regarded Madison Central.
The Jackets (1-1) got just a field goal in the second half but held Madison Central scoreless en route to victory. Junior kicker Charlie Henderson provided the game-winning points with a 24-yard field goal in the third quarter and the defense made it hold up.
“Boy, we did hold on – and last week was such an embarrasment,” said Mitchell. “I can’t tell you how embarrassed we were by our effort and just our play was so sub-par. But our guys played their tail off tonight and I am very, very proud of them.”
Starkville jumped to a quick 13-0 lead behind a pair of touchdown runs by junior quarterback Gabe Myles. But Madison Central (0-2) closed the first half with two touchdowns for a 14-13 lead.
“It feels real good,” said Myles. “The way the defense played it shows Starkville is back. We have to score on offense and do our part. We know if we score our defense is gonna hold their own. So that was a good combination tonight.”
The Jaguars rushed for 233 yards on the night, including 127 by junior Brandon Moore. Then late in the game behind quarterback Drew Powell, Madison Central used the option game to drive from their own 20 to Starkville’s 24-yard line.
The Jackets’ defense, however, held and Madison Central missed a 41-yard field goal with 3:47 left in regulation.
Madison Central had one more shot but failed to reach Starkville territory.
“We made the plays when it counted this week,” said Mitchell. “And hats off to Charlie. He missed one late in the first half and then hits the game-winner. I couldn’t be prouder for him.”
Paul Jones/Special to the NEMS Daily Journal