These are the Starkville Yellowjackets who made either All Class 5A, Region 2 or Class 5A All-State. They are Stanley Higgins, back from left, Jawon Johnson and Gabriel Myles, and Preston Baker, front from left, Kentrell Spencer, Jacoby Smith and Johnny Smith. David Fair and Devonte Davis are not pictured. (Submitted photo)
Tim Goliday had the experience of winning not only one State football championship with the Starkville Yellowjackets, but two in 1994 and 1995.
Fast forward 17 years later and Goliday gets to share in another State championship with his son TeQuan.
TeQuan Goliday and the Jackets captured the Class 5A State championship last year. The team celebrated the accomplishment with an awards banquet last Sunday night at the Starkville Sportsplex.
"It's a great feeling to know that these kids have worked hard to get back to a State championship after their heart-felt loss (the year before)," Tim Goliday said. "Like they said, (getting to the first State championship) they were along for the ride and enjoying the moment, but to have tragedy strike (with the death of Devin Mitchell) and to come together, it was kind of like what the Baltimore Ravens went through. When you have tragedy and come together as a unit, you get closer and they all had a common goal. They had a couple of tough losses this year, but they bonded together to win.
"It's special to see your son win a State championship as you did. It's a great group of kids and I actually got to coach some of them when they played for the Raiders like Tyler Rogers. It was awesome to see him win an award. He is a goofy kid that enjoys the limelight and he's a talented kid."
Rogers was given the Scout Team Award, which was one of 12 individual honors given by SHS football coach Jamie Mitchell and his staff.
Prior to handing out the various awards, each class was introduced by the coaches, including the senior class that had quite a two-year run with two Class 5A, Region 2 titles, a pair of Class 5A North State crowns and one Class 5A State championship.
Mitchell said the seniors will leave a great mark on the program.
"Their legacy is going to be remembered here for a long time," Mitchell said. "Two State championship games is almost impossible and it's a group that will be sorely missed.
"There's no telling how many hours these guys spend each week at their craft and their tool. They've paid a heavy price for the success that they had."
Those players to earn special recognition were Best Offensive Lineman Jawon Johnson, Best Receiver Kentrell Spencer, Best Offensive Back and Most Valuable Offensive Player Preston Baker, Most Improved Offensive Player Josh Kitchens, Best Defensive Lineman Kyle Jones, Best Linebacker Marlow Rogers, Best Defensive Back Jacoby Smith, Most Improved Defensive Player Raphael McClain, Most Valuable Defensive Player David Fair and Most Valuable Player Gabe Myles.
Myles said it was special to share in the moment with teammates.
"It's a great way to end it to have a wonderful banquet like this," Myles said. "This is the last outing we'll have as a team so it was good to spend one last outing with my teammates before we go our separate ways. We had a big signing class and it will be tougher to keep in touch, but it was wonderful to have this time together."
Myles was also the Class 5A, Region 2 Offensive Player of the Year as well as the Class 5A All-State Offensive Player of the Year.
Mitchell announced that Baker, Johnson, Spencer, Jones, Darius Grayer, Stanley Higgins, Jaquez Horsley, Devonte Davis, Jacoby Smith, Johnny Smith and Taylor Johnston made the Class 5A, Region 2 team, and that Johnson, Davis, Higgins, Fair, Baker and Jacoby Smith made the Class 5A All-State team.
Johnny Smith and Higgins were voted Team Captains.
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