Jackets seek to keep momentum going
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.”