Starkville High School quarterback Gabe Myles, left, prepares to hand the football to running back Jacquez Horsley (28). (Photo by Kim Murrell, SDN)
The Battle for the Golden Egg between the Mississippi State Bulldogs and Ole Miss Rebels doesn't happen for another week.
Prior to the renewal of that college series on the gridiron, the two towns that those institutions call home have high schools teams that play in the postseason tonight.
The Starkville Yellowjackets host the Oxford Chargers in the Class 5A playoffs and has caused quite the unique matchup. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Yellowjacket Stadium.
SHS officials have found that the last time the Jackets and Chargers met was in 1980 as part of the former Little 10 Conference.
"It's really amazing that our paths haven't crossed more," Starkville coach Jamie Mitchell. "It's a neat thing that's happened. I had already talked with (Oxford coach) Johnny Hill about starting a series next year in a non-division game and thought it would be a neat little twist and turn it into something. Little did I know we'd be playing in the playoffs."
Both communities are passionate when it comes to supporting its respective universities, but now that the high schools have reached this point of the season and play each other, a rivalry could also develop at that level.
"You've got two college towns and with obviously the Egg Bowl situation, it just adds that much more to it," Mitchell said. "It's probably trickled down to our high schools now that we're playing each other."
The game showcases two of the best quarterbacks in the state in Gabe Myles of SHS and Parker Adamson of Oxford.
Adamson has completed 177-of-347 pass attempts for 2,188 yards and 17 touchdowns for the Chargers.
Mitchell thought so much of the Oxford signal caller that he selected him as one of two players at that position for the Mississippi-Alabama All-Star team.
Tonight, Mitchell and his staff try to figure out how to slow down Adamson.
"When you see him throw the football, you scratch your head in wondering how you are going to defend him," Mitchell said. "(Starkville defensive coordinator) Coach (Brooks) Oakley hit the nail on the head when he said that we understand they are going to move the ball, but we can't panic. Hopefully (we can) make them make a bunch of plays in a row and not give up the big one.
"Our defense has been incredible and very pleased in knowing we've got that kind of group to put out there every Friday night."
The Jackets are led defensively by Taylor Johnston (85 tackles), Marlow Rogers (75 tackles), Raphael McClain (58 tackles) and David Fair (52 tackles).
Myles has shown the ability to help Starkville on offense with his arm and his feet.
In the passing department, Myles has completed 71-of-149 pass attempts for 964 yards and 12 touchdowns. He adds 103 carries for 507 yards on the ground and seven scores.
Mitchell has watched as Myles has played better and better as the season has progressed.
"A long time he had pressure on him being the returning 5A player of the year and Mississippi State commitment," Mitchell said. "He had so much to live up to, but I think he's finally gotten past that. He's going out to have fun with this, play high school football and worry about all of the other later. I think that's paying off for him."
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