JACKSON – It turned out to be an easy Class 5A, Region 2, District 6 opener for the Starkville High School Yellowjackets.
After beginning the season with a 1-3 record against tough non-division competitive, Starkville went on the road to defeat the Jackson Lanier Bulldogs 48-0 on Friday night.
After forcing a Bulldog turnover on fourth down the Jackets scored on their first play from scrimmage, a 2-yard rush from Jaquez Horsley who simply put on a show in the capital city.
“If my offensive line blocks like that, I’ll walk into the end zone every time,” said Horsley, who carried the ball nine times for 26 yards and five touchdowns.
Starkville head coach Jamie Mitchell said Horsley improves every week.
“He is going to be a valuable player there is no doubt about that,” Mitchell said. “He made a great cut down here early on when we ran an ISO. He’s got great vision and it is going to be a lot of fun to watch him progress.”
The statistics behind the game don’t reflect just how dominant the Jackets were on Friday night. They managed 304 yards of total offense but scored seven times for the evening. The predominant reason for that was the play of the defense.
Starkville forced four Lanier turnovers and helped the offense start all but one of its possessions on the Bulldog side of the field.
“This was the first field I coached these guys on when we came down here for a scrimmage,” said Mitchell. “We were bad then and it feels good to be able to bring a better team down here and play like we did (Friday night).”
The win over Lanier gives SHS a 1-0 region record, a step in the direction of reaching its goal to return to the title game.
“I told them I had goosebumps as we came up Woodrow Wilson and you could see the (Big House) sitting over there on the right,” said Mitchell. “That’s our dream and that’s where we want to get to ... to be that close to it and see that.”
A healthy Gabe Myles led the Jacket offensive attack in the first half where he completed 6-of-7 passes for 121 yards. He gave way to sophomore Caleb Wilson who continued to impress as he has done all season.
Starkville returns to the road next week with a return trip to Jackson to face Provine next Friday.