Monday morning quarterback: Starkville vs. Southaven

Joel Coleman
Staff Writer

There’s an interesting dichotomy going on right now at Starkville High School.

On one hand, the Yellowjackets are thrilled they are still alive in the Class 6A playoffs after a Friday night win over Southaven. On the other, there’s a bit of trepidation because for some reason, things just aren’t clicking on all cylinders right now for the Jackets.

“We’re just not playing well right now,” Starkville head coach Chris Jones said following Friday’s 6-0 win.

For three weeks in a row now, the Jackets have struggled. Most of those struggles have come offensively.

Back on Oct. 27, Warren Central shut out Starkville 23-0. The Jackets rebounded the following week with a win over Clinton to claim the Class 6A, Region 2 championship, but it took some late heroics for Starkville to get past the Arrows in the end. This was a Clinton team that finished its season with just a 5-6 record.

Starkville’s woes continued this past Friday as the playoffs began. Despite playing a Southaven team that sported a losing record in the regular season, the Jackets couldn’t finish drives offensively. Starkville was able to move the football from time to time, but five turnovers and an inability to get in the end zone frustrated the Jackets. Starkville needed a pair of field goals to come away with the win.

“I don’t know why, but I feel like we’re going backwards somehow offensively,” Jones said. “I thought we were doing pretty good at one point. We just have to get better at the little things. The attention to detail has to get better.

“We have to find a way to fix it. We have to do better as a staff. I put all the ownership on myself. I’ll find a way between now and (this Friday).”

The good news for Starkville is, despite its woes, the Jackets are getting wins. That means Starkville is still playing. The Jackets host Horn Lake this week in the second round of the Class 6A playoffs and Starkville has a chance to get one step closer to its ultimate goal of a state title.

The bad news for the Jackets is, the road is starting to toughen up significantly. If Clinton and Southaven threatened to upend Starkville, what could a 9-2 Horn Lake team do?

Starkville finds itself in a bit of a dilemma. The Jackets have to be pleased with themselves for still being a part of the playoffs. However they can’t afford to be satisfied, because right now, Starkville seems to be hanging on by a thread.

The Jackets can take comfort in this. They have a full week of practice ahead to try and get things turned around and get back to the dominant style of football they were playing midseason.

Jones is determined to relight his team’s fuse and reignite Starkville’s title dreams.

“We’re not where we want to be, but we’re moving on to the second round,” Jones said. “We’ve got the chance to fix some stuff and get better. No complaints I don’t guess. We’re still in it and we still have a chance to win it. We have to fix some stuff, but we’ll find a way.”

Joel Coleman is the Mississippi State writer for the Starkville Daily News. The views in this column are Coleman's and not necessarily the views of the SDN or its staff.