COLUMBUS â€“ The Starkville Yellowjackets may not have exactly finished where they wanted to at the Class 5A State meet Wednesday afternoon.
SHS golf coach Sam Bryant said that a disappointing 10th place finish shouldn't take away from what seniors Ryan Lacy and Logan Maddox have given to the team this season.
Lacy and Maddox shot a two-day total of 178 each as the Jackets totaled a 722 at the Columbus Country Club. Oxford won the title by shooting a 655.
Bryant has watched Lacy and Maddox have progress as golf players and said it's going to be tough for the program move forward without them.
"They've done everything we've asked," Bryant said. "They've been at practices and worked in the offseason on their games. You didn't have to worry about them academically. They've been a pleasure to coach.
"Their parents have been great for us and have volunteered. They push their kids just as much as we do and it's been an all-around effort out of those two and I'm proud of them. They've had a good career."
Maddox and Lacy left Columbus disappointed and both felt like they could have done more to keep SHS in contention for a state title.
Lacy said his putting game left him, while Maddox believed the Jackets lost focus on the big stage.
"It seemed when we got here, it was like we froze up, realized we were here and now we've got to play well," Maddox said.
Maddox improved his score from day one (93) to day two (85). He just wanted to shoot as low as possible for Starkville.
"The difference (on Wednesday) was I took it back and stayed focused more," Maddox said. "Even (Wednesday) on the front side, I was everywhere and wasn't focused. I missed short puts, missed the greens and wasn't getting up and down. I was just not scoring very well.
"When I (got on the back) I was focused and I didn't want to shoot so badly to where my team was completely out of it. I wanted to have somewhat of a respectable score."
Jace Hobart shot an 87 both days for a two-day total of 174, which was the lowest for the Jackets.
"I was thinking if I shot good, our team would have a chance to win state," Hobart said. "I just wanted to do my part."
As far as the struggles for the squad, Hobart said their heads seemed to be somewhere else.
"We were thinking too hard and trying to hard," Hobart said. "If we were relaxed, we would have come out with a better score."
Starkville shot a 363 as a team the first day and cut that by four strokes with a 359 on Wednesday.
Even though the score improved, Bryant knows the Jackets didn't perform as well as they were capable.
Bryant plans to use the experience as a learning tool for the future.
"I came in thinking we had a really good shot and might have put them under a little too much pressure myself," Bryant said. "I still think if we could have come out, played and shot what we were capable of doing, we would have been right in the hunt."
Wednesday's round was delayed close to an hour in the morning due to rain, but Bryant wasn't about to blame the poor play by SHS on the weather.
"It's something you have to deal with," Bryant said. "We wished it could have been a perfect situation, but it was that way for everybody and I'm not going to use that as an excuse."View more articles in: