By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – The old football adage, “Offense sells tickets, defense wins games” could apply to Tupelo’s 2-0 start this season.
The Golden Wave’s shown plenty of offensive firepower – with a lot of help from sophomore tailback Ashton Shumpert – in its wins against New Hope (345 yards) and Itawamba AHS (335 yards).
Shumpert rushed for 185 yards and scored two touchdowns in last week’s 31-6 win at IAHS.
“We’ve run the ball well, but we’ve dropped a bunch of passes,” first-year head coach David Bradberry said. “Still, when you get close to 350 yards, it’s a good night.”
Tupelo’s defense has been successful against two high-powered offensive clubs – New Hope (287 yards), IAHS (198 yards). In last week’s win, linebacker Damion Dillard recorded nine tackles while end P.J. Jones added six. Both players recorded a sack each.
“I’m pleased that we haven’t given up the big play,” Bradberry said. “That’s big because the two teams we’ve faced are explosive offensively.
“We’ve got a lot of guys playing hard and giving good effort on both sides of the ball.”
Tupelo’s offense and defense will face more tests tonight when Louisville (1-2), coached by former Noxubee County coach M.C. Miller, comes to town.
Defensively, the visiting Wildcats will give the Wave multiple looks. “A lot of what they do is based on personnel,” Bradberry said. “They run extremely well.”
Louisville’s offense is powered by receiver turned quarterback C.J. Bates, who is equally effective running and throwing.
“He went 70 yards with an option keeper last week,” defensive coordinator Lamar Aldridge said. “We’ve got to hem him up.”