By David Wheeler
Special to the Journal
SHANNON – The Tupelo Golden Wave versus the Shannon Red Raiders. An on-again, off-again, on-again affair that has teased Lee County football fans for a couple of decades.
For the third consecutive season, the two county foes will square off with the Red Raiders hosting a 7 p.m. kickoff today.
“I think this is one we’ll be ready to play and they’ll be ready to play,” Tupelo head coach Trent Hammond said. “We’ve got to play well on defense, and we’ll need an overall better performance on offense.”
Tupelo (2-0) is coming off a 27-3 victory against Center Hill, but that win feels a bit hollow as Hammond thinks his Golden Wave could have performed better.
“We didn’t execute like we did our first game,” he said. “But it’s a good thing to be dissatisfied with a 24-point win.”
For Tupelo, sophomore quarterback Daniel Bristow showed continued improvement, while the running game, which includes Quinn Tiggs and Reed Taylor, continued to be solid. Defensively, the only points allowed to Center Hill can be traced to a pair of Tupelo turnovers.
Hammond expects a maximum effort from Shannon this contest, especially since the Wave defeated the Raiders 24-16 a season ago.
“I’ve played them the last three years while at Amory and they have tremendous athletes,” Hammond said. “They have a big offensive line and they get their quarterback behind that line and just mash people.”
The Shannon offense is led by senior quarterback Kendall Cox, who missed last season with an ACL injury. The Raiders (1-0) defeated Aberdeen 21-14 last week.
“We still have a lot of things to work on,” said Shannon head coach Darryl Carter, who was an assistant at Tupelo from 2003-09. “It’s a big game, but it’s just the next game.
“We’re just trying to get back to the way Shannon used to win games. We’ll be trying to get a ‘W’ any way we can.”