Tupelo head football coach David Bradberry doesn't have to watch film to understand why the Starkville Yellowjackets pose a threat to his team's undefeated record.
After growing up in Oktibbeha County and attending Sturgis High School, then coaching at Greenwood and Clinton, Bradberry knows well the tradition of Starkville and why it will be difficult for the Golden Wave to enter into Yellowjacket Stadium Friday night and pull out a victory. Kickoff for the first October matchup of the season is set for 7 p.m.
Bradberry doesn't consider this being a homecoming for him just because he's from Sturgis, but looks forward to seeing how Tupelo responds against Starkville.
"I know what kind of football team Starkville has," Bradberry said. "I've played them over the years when I was at Greenwood and Clinton, so I'm familiar with them and know the history of them.
"That's the exciting part. It's not a homecoming for me. It's good to play against those guys because I know what kind of history they have and that's a good measuring stick. You find out what you are made of when you play people like Starkville."
The Jackets (3-2) won their Class 6A, Region 1 opener last week at DeSoto Central 38-16, while the Golden Wave (4-0) earned a 21-14 victory against Columbus in their first division game.
"Last week, I think was the best football game we had played all year," Bradberry said. "It needed to be because Columbus has a good football team.
"We were a little bit uncertain about our team at the beginning of the year because we were trying to put some pieces together, but we went through the non-district schedule and played some good teams and got better and better."
Tupelo's other wins have come against New Hope 33-23, Itawamba AHS 31-6 and Louisville 17-0.
The Golden Wave offense has gotten a lift this season from Itawamba transfer Ashton Shumpert, who has 518 yards rushing and 17 touchdowns in four games.
"He and his mother moved into town this summer and he's really been a plus," Bradberry said. "He's a great kid to coach. He's a hard-working kid and very talented."
As Bradberry and Shumpert are settling in at Tupelo, coach Jamie Mitchell is doing the same at Starkville.
"He's been at it a long time and has been successful everywhere he's been," Bradberry said of Mitchell. "We knew Starkville was good and they've always been strong athletically and Jamie is a good football coach. I think they are one of the best teams in the district without a doubt."