SDN Sports Seen: Big wins by SHS will become norm instead of surprise
Starkville High head coach Jamie Mitchell has gotten the Yellowjackets off to a 2-2 start this season, including an upset win over West Point on Friday. (Kim Murrell/SDN)
Sooner or later, we knew it was bound to happen.
Coach Jamie Mitchell came to Starkville with the reputation of winning everywhere he's been and it has been the opinion of many that it was only going to be a matter of time before he did the same thing at Starkville High School.
When the Yellowjackets beat the West Point Green Wave 21-20 Friday night, the result wasn't so much the surprise as it was coming in only the fourth game of the Mitchell era.
Mitchell has gotten the SHS program believing early in his tenure and Friday's outcome should provide a huge boost of confidence for the program as it moves forward.
After coming up short against Noxubee County and Meridian, the Jackets got it done against the Green Wave, the defending Class 5A state champion.
Being that West Point has been THE greatest rival for Starkville for many years, that had to make the victory much sweeter.
Anyone who has watched the Jackets play this season under Mitchell could see this coming.
Each week, I've had the opportunity to visit with the opposing coach by phone and all agree Starkville appears to be a different team with Mitchell calling the shots.
Even West Point coach Chris Chambless was concerned going into the matchup because he knew how the Jackets were playing.
"The excitement is back and coach Mitchell has them playing hard," Chambless said. "It's to be expected. You can tell they want to win."
Similar statements were made by Meridian coach Larry Weems the week before that, and by Louisville coach M.C. Miller the week before that and by Noxubee County coach Tyrone Shorter the week before that.
Mitchell is a respected coach and SHS Athletic Director Stan Miller and the rest of the administration led by School Supt. Judy Couey are to be commended for this hire.
It's amazing to think that by making only about six or seven more plays this season, the Jackets could be off to a 4-0 start this season instead of 2-2 against teams that have put state championship trophies in its case the last couple of years.
Matt Stevens, the Mississippi State beat writer for our newspaper, was the one who witnessed first hand Starkville's upset of the Green Wave and has already put in his vote for Mitchell being Area Coach of the Year.
Although it may be premature to have a lock for a postseason honor, there's no doubt that Mitchell has gone a long way to achieving such recognition with the way he's handled things to this point.
With an open date to get ready, the Jackets should be ready to make a significant run in Class 6A, Region 1.
There's no reason to believe that Mitchell's football team won't be giving the effort necessary to be in games for the rest of the season. The pride and will to win certainly seems to have returned to SHS.
The Jackets are buying into the words of the chant they've adopted, "We are Starkville."
Danny P. Smith is sports editor and columnist for the Starkville Daily News. The opinions in this column are his and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Daily News or its staff.
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