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TUPELO ‚Äď Caleb Wilson and the Starkville Yellowjackets turned in a breakout performance against the Golden Wave with 28 points and 334 yards of offense picking up the first win of the season 28-0 in Tupelo.
The sophomore quarterback played with poise beyond his years on Friday night as he threw for three touchdowns on an 8-for-12 effort for 180 yards.
‚ÄúHe‚Äôs special and he‚Äôs going to get better every time he steps on the field,‚ÄĚ said SHS head coach Jamie Mitchell. ‚ÄúHe headsy, he‚Äôs smart and he knows how to run the show. He‚Äôs a gifted young man who is going to to great things at Starkville.‚ÄĚ
The Starkville coaching staff eased Wilson into the game with a few run calls and high percentage passing plays before connecting with Preston Baker on a 71-yard scoring strike to get on the board in the first quarter.
‚ÄúMy team played better (Friday night)," Wilson said. "We blocked up front and without the rain, I felt like I could throw the football and do what I do best. I thought we had a chance at scoring, but I thought I overthrew him. He ran it down for my first high school touchdown pass.‚ÄĚ
Two possessions later, the Jackets returned to the end zone, this time it was Baker from 25 yards out for his second touchdown of the night, extending the lead to 14-0. Baker hauled in five passes for 146 yards against Tupelo (1-2).
Darius Grayer got in to the action in the second quarter with a cut up the middle that resulted in a 56-yard scoring scamper and a 21-0 Yellowjacket lead.
Heading into the locker room, Starkville amassed 259 yards of total offense while Tupelo had just 14.
‚ÄúWe just made some big plays and I thought Darius Grayer was huge (Friday night),‚ÄĚ Mitchell said. ‚ÄúHe made big play after big play. We are really proud of Darius. He‚Äôs still playing with a cast on his hand and making a difference for us.‚ÄĚ
In the second half, the Jacket defense picked up where they left off, dominating the line of scrimmage.
Jawon Johnson, Kyle Jones and the rest of the defensive front harassed the Golden Wave repeatedly, holding Tupelo to minus-4 yards rushing and 59 total yards for the contest.
‚ÄúWe thought going in we could stop them," Mitchell said. "We felt like we had a big advantage on the defensive front. Not only did we stop the run, but we harassed the quarterback all night long. We played great in the secondary with great coverage. It was just a great, great win and we needed one.‚ÄĚ
The Jackets (1-2) return home next week to face the West Point Green Wave with a kickoff set for 7:30 p.m.