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The two schools may be in different classifications now and may no longer be division opponents, but it will still be a big football game Friday night when the Tupelo Golden Wave and Starkville Yellowjackets get together.
After losing a 47-14 decision in Starkville last season, Tupelo coach David Bradberry wants his team to have a much improved effort in this year's visit to Yellowjacket Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
"Starkville and Tupelo have been playing for a long time," Bradberry said. "Last year, they drilled us pretty good so we need to see if we can play better this time than we did last year. We'll see how it goes."
As far as this season, Bradberry saw a little bit of character out of the Golden Wave last week.
Tupelo (1-1) bounced back from an opening-season 40-11 loss to Lafayette County and defeated Center Hill 23-22.
"The thing I was proud of last week was we battled from behind," Bradberry said. "We had a lead, gave it up, but battled from behind and got through a little bit of adversity. Hopefully, we learned something from that. I know each week we're going to have to get better and better."
The Golden Wave has to do that for at least two more weeks without one of their offensive weapons.
Junior running back Ashton Shumphert suffered a stress fracture in lower leg in a preseason scrimmage against Pontotoc on Aug. 12. He tried to go against Lafayette County, but could only manage 20 yards on 10 carries.
Bradberry knows it's tough to lose a player that rushed for 1,328 yards and 15 touchdowns last year, but saw senior running back Tenerious Montgomery gain 111 yards rushing and two touchdowns against Center Hill.
"We'll go from there and see how that's going to work," Bradberry said. "Hopefully somebody will step up and make some plays."
Bradberry believes it's going to take a strong effort from the entire squad to compete with Starkville, which he considers to be better than Lafayette County.
"Starkville may have the best football team we've seen," Bradberry said. "I know Lafayette is really good, but Starkville has got some great skilled people and the linemen get after you.
"It's a typical Starkville football team. We'll have to play our best game if we are going to stay on the field with them."