SMITH COLUMN: Yellowjackets looking to add to rich tradition
Starkville High School football coach Jamie Mitchell pumps his fist during a game this season. (Photo by Kim Murrell, SDN)
The Starkville Yellowjackets have already had a great football season.
After winning the Class 5A, Region 2, District 6 Championship with a perfect 7-0 mark, the Jackets advanced past the first two rounds of the playoffs with victories over Hernando 42-28 and West Point 20-14.
Starkville, which now has an overall record of 11-2, has a chance to capture the Class 5A North Championship Friday night by defeating Ridgeland and advancing to the school's eighth state championship game.
That's not bad for a program that only had a record of 5-6 and missed out on the playoffs last season.
Coach Jamie Mitchell and his staff has certainly done an excellent job of putting the Jackets back on the map, but he understands the journey isn't complete unless it ends in Jackson.
There is a rich tradition at SHS which Mitchell embraced when he became the head coach and he was committed from day one to building the program back to a state championship level.
The Jackets won state crowns in 1984 under coach Willis Wright, 1994 and 1995 under coach Chuck Friend and 2001 under coach Bill Lee. Starkville was the state runners-up in 1981, 1983 and 1985, and were North State runners-up in 1996, 2000 and 2003.
There have been 11 undefeated seasons in SHS history (1926, 1940, 1941, 1942, 1956, 1961, 1967, 1970, 1971, 1994 and 1995), and 13 one-loss seasons (1955, 1957, 1959, 1960, 1965, 1968, 1969, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1981, 1984 and 2001).
This is the amazing stat. The Jackets have only had six losing seasons since 1924 and three of those came previous to this year.
Since 1924, Starkville has a record of 559-85-21.
The Jackets are on quite a roll this season with a nine-game winning streak and even though it's going to be tough to beat the Titans for the second time this season, especially on the road, Starkville is playing with quite a bit of confidence right now.
With the ability to put up points with their offense and to shut down opponents with their defense, the Jackets have a chance to keep doing some special things this season.
It will be interesting to see if Starkville gets to schedule another trip to the Jackson area next weekend.
Danny P. Smith is sports editor and columnist for the Starkville Daily News. The opinions in this column are his and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Daily News or its staff.
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