Ed­wards leads shutout ef­fort for Jack­ets in play­off vic­tory

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

It's been a strug­gle scor­ing points for the Starkville Yel­low­jack­ets over the last three weeks, but there's no ques­tion­ing the de­fen­sive pro­duc­tion.

The SHS unit con­tin­ues to make thing in­creas­ingly dif­fi­cult for teams and the Jack­ets pitched an­other shutout last week when they beat Southaven 6-0 in the first round of the Class 6A play­offs. At the head of the ef­fort was ju­nior line­backer Zach Ed­wards, who has been a con­stant thorn in the side of op­pos­ing of­fenses all year.

Ed­wards had a nine-tackle per­for­mance get­ting five stops be­hind the line of scrim­mage and a sack. His ef­fort earned him the OCH Re­gional Health Cen­ter Ath­lete of the Week and also helped Starkville stay alive.

“As a unit, it was im­por­tant for them to con­tinue to do well,” Jacket head coach Chris Jones said. “To have a guy like Zach, it helps a lot. He al­ways makes big plays when we need him. He has great up­side and is only go­ing to get bet­ter. I feel like next year is go­ing to be re­ally special, but right now he's still a forced to be reck­oned with.”

Ed­wards has been sec­ond on the team in tack­les this year with 89 but leads the squad by amass­ing 27 tack­les for loss and seven sacks. He's also shown his ver­sa­til­ity with eight pass de­flec­tions, four fum­ble re­cov­er­ies and two forced fum­bles.

The fright­en­ing thing for op­po­nents is that Ed­wards doesn't be­lieve he's play­ing his best foot­ball for SHS yet. There's still more that he feels he has to give.

“I could have played way bet­ter,” Ed­wards said. “I was kind of dead out there. I've been play­ing OK this year as a whole. I need to be more phys­i­cal.”

Just last year, Ed­wards was play­ing de­fen­sive end and start­ing for the Jack­ets as a sopho­more. He made plays there, too, but his fu­ture looks to be stand­ing up as a line­backer.

Hav­ing played sev­eral dif­fer­ent po­si­tions and get­ting an un­der­stand­ing of the game, Jones be­lieves that mov­ing him around has made things very tough for other teams.

“He might line up on the left side one play and on the right side the next or line up at out­side backer or mid­dle backer,” Jones said. “It's just re­ally hard to iden­tify some­one like that be­cause he's so ver­sa­tile.”

There's more to play for this week when Ed­wards and his team hopes to hold an­other team to a goose egg on the score­board.

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