Edwards leads shutout effort for Jackets in playoff victory
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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