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Banged-up SHS travels to Tupelo

August 30, 2012

Sophomore Caleb Wilson is expected to get his second-straight start at quarterback for Starkville tonight. (Photo by Kim Murrell, SDN)

The first two games of the football season have taken a toll on the Starkville Yellowjackets physically.

Not only did the Jackets not have their best offensive player, quarterback Gabe Myles, against Madison Central because of a sprained ankle, they lost their best defensive player, David Fair, during the game because of a knee injury.

Starkville is also missing Jimmy Saulsberry, Darius Grayer, Ladorrius Pittman and Kirk Kinard on offense because of various injuries. Those are all players who had significant roles in last year's North Class 5A Championship run.

"In high school football, there are x number of players that are starters and once you get past those, you get into some players who are not ready," SHS head coach Jamie Mitchell said. "That's where we are and playing the teams we're playing right now is brutal. When you are putting guys in there that just aren't ready, you are going to have some things happen that happened to us."

It's not the situation the Jackets wanted to be in heading into tonight's game against the Tupelo Golden Wave. Kickoff has been changed to 7 p.m. in Tupelo due to weather concerns.

Starkville (0-2) lost to Noxubee County 29-8 to open the season, then they were beaten 24-8 by Madison Central last week.

With Myles not able to play, it gave sophomore signal caller Caleb Wilson a chance for his first start with the Jackets.

Wilson completed 5-of-14 pass attempts for 51 yards with an interception, but Mitchell thought he did well under the circumstances.

"What an environment to be put in," Mitchell said. "You are on TV in over 6 million homes at Madison Central, one of the biggest high schools in the state and on top of that, it's your first high school start and 30 minutes before kickoff, there comes a monsoon so I don't know how much more the cards could be stacked against him.

"He made some nice throws, especially in the second half when the rain let up a little bit. He's got great poise in the huddle and we're really excited about him. He has a chance to be the next really good quarterback here. The thing I like about him was he was really disappointed in losing. Sometimes young players like that are just happy to survive. He expects to win and we're pleased to see that in him. The expectations and demands he's getting from pops at home are a little different than most."

Wilson will get his second start tonight because Myles ankle still hasn't responded enough to be able to play. Myles has not practiced this week.

"(Myle's ankle) is not doing what we thought it would do," Mitchell said. "We honestly thought he would play last week and he just wasn't ready. We miss him, no question, but he's got to be able to protect himself and be effective before we can put him back out there."

Sophomore Jaquez Horsley was another bright spot for SHS with 76 yards on 13 carries against the Jaguars.

With Tupelo and West Point still left to play in the non-division portion of the schedule, Mitchell knows his squad can still have a successful season no matter what the outcome of those games are.

"This can still be a very special season," Mitchell said. "Division play hasn't started and it is our hope that by division play, we'll get those players back or be close to getting them back on the field. We hope not to lose anyone else in the meantime."

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