Jack­ets seek to keep mo­men­tum go­ing

Starkville Daily News - - SPORTS - By ROB­BIE FAULK sports@starkvilledai­lynews.com

There wasn't much that Chris Jones liked about Starkville High School's fooball game against West Point two weeks ago.

It was a 28-3 blowout that was a for­mal­ity by half­time and all Jones could do was stand there and won­der how his team would re­spond. At that Sun­day af­ter­noon prac­tice, Jones got his an­swer and it con­tin­ued on Mon­day, Tues­day, Wed­nes­day and Thurs­day. On Fri­day, the team got its pay check in the form of a 44-7 throt­tling of Colum­bus.

“I feel good about the way they bounced back," Jones said. "Some­times teams get down af­ter a loss and I feel like our guys made a state­ment by play­ing a good foot­ball game for the most part. I'm happy we came back and fought. In my opin­ion, we won that game Mon­day through Thurs­day with a good week of prac­tice.”

The play­ers felt sat­is­fied af­ter the win as well. Of­fen­sive tackle Kameron Jones and the of­fense rolled with quar­ter­back Ma­lik Brown's big game. It was some­thing that they felt had to hap­pen af­ter the frus­trat­ing loss a week prior and fixing mis­takes was the high­est pri­or­ity.

“We did pretty good," Kameron Jones said. "We had a Sun­day prac­tice and came out pretty fo­cused. We wanted to work on just fin­ish­ing drives and lim­it­ing our turnovers.”

Ci­ach Jones builds his of­fense around the strengths of his run game and that was there through the first six quar­ters of foot­ball. When Ro­drigues Clark went down in the sec­ond half against Ox­ford, run­ning the foot­ball be­came tougher for the unit and in turn un­bal­anced the whole of­fense.

Clark is ex­pected to play this week af­ter miss­ing the last two games, but Jones thought the progress of Brown at quar­ter­back and se­nior An­dreus Swani­gan has helped sta­bi­lize things. Brown threw for 170 yards and three touch­downs against Colum­bus and showed again his abil­ity to run with 13 car­ries, 73 yards and two scores.

For the sea­son, Brown has rushed for 281 yards and is com­pletely ca­pa­ble of help­ing out the run game. How­ever,

Jones would much rather ev­ery­one be at full go back there, in­clud­ing Clark.

“We want to be a run-first team, but Dreke has been down,” coach Jones said of Clark. “We had to try to find other ways to run the ball and score points and Ma­lik did a pretty good job. It's al­ways a plus to be bal­anced. I want to find dif­fer­ent ways to get guys the ball.”

Estab­lish­ing the run will be crit­i­cal this week with Merid­ian (1-2) com­ing to Yel­low­jacket Sta­dium. The Wild­cats have a strong de­fen­sive line led by Dandy Dozen Ole MIss com­mit De­un­tra Hy­man at de­fen­sive end. Hy­man will be play­ing in his first game this sea­son af­ter suf­fer­ing from a leg in­jury.

Kameron Jones has revenge in mind along with the fire to con­tinue to im­prove him­self and his team. Af­ter last sea­son's 20-10 loss at Merid­ian, Kameron Jones felt his team left points off the board and only hurt them­selves.

“We had too many mis­takes last year,” Kameron Jones said. “They weren't bet­ter than us we just beat our­selves. Against a team like that, you can't make those mis­takes.”

Starkville (3-1) is look­ing to show the train is still on the tracks this week just prior to start­ing Class 6A, Re­gion 2 play next week at Provine. A win on their home field head­ing into district play would be an­other move in the right di­rec­tion.

“We're ex­pect­ing their best punch so we have to match their in­ten­sity and make sure we're pre­pared,” coach Jones said. “We can't come out all lack­adaisi­cal and slug­gish. I feel like the first cou­ple of pos­ses­sions will be cru­cial just to set the tone.

“We have to pro­tect our house.”

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