Smith on Sports: Jackets need Wildcats on schedule

Danny P. Smith
Staff Writer

It was nice to see the Starkville Yellowjackets and Louisville Wildcats competing once again on the football field Saturday afternoon even though it was just a two-quarter scrimmage during a jamboree.
The last time the two teams went against each other in a regular season game was in 2010 and that’s just too long for two rivals and proud programs that are only 30 miles apart not to play.
Starkville has its share of non-division rivals with West Point and Noxubee County being the main two. There are not just too many dates in a football season to add another, but somehow Louisville has got to be one of those.
The Jackets and Wildcats met every year from 1939-2010. That was a long and healthy series. It still is the second most played series that SHS has and it should be renewed.
Even though Starkville has held the upper hand pretty handily with a 45-25-4 record against Louisville, the two teams get after it pretty good on the football field and it just has the look of a rivalry.
The Jackets had a pretty easy time on Saturday 21-0 at Mississippi State’s Davis Wade Stadium, but SHS coach Chris Jones can see where the Wildcats can be dangerous.
“I think they are going to be a beast to be honest in 4A,” Jones said. “I think it was a great game for us to measure where we are and a great game for them also.”
Louisville’s M.C. Miller gave Jones a chance to become a coach and he hasn’t forgotten that.
There is a chance that the Jackets and Wildcats may play again in the future during the regular season and Jones would be in favor of that.
“We are going to try to eventually get that rivalry back, but at the end of the day, I pull for them,” Jones said. “We won’t see them against this season. I have a lot of love for coach Miller. He taught me a lot and gave me a chance to be a coach. My hat goes off to his guys and his program. I think they’ll be pretty good.”
Starkville is going to be pretty good also.
Jones and his coaching staff are going to have quite a bit of talent at their disposal during the 2017 season.
Malik Brown is going to be an athletic quarterback and a pretty decent passer too, while running backs Andreus Swanigan, KJ Lawrence and Rodriguez Clark are going to be a good trio.
The SHS defense looks like it’s going to be one that’s aggressive and runs to the football with a gang-tackling mentality.
There are going to be some challenges along the way for the Jackets, starting next Friday night at Noxubee County, but it certainly appears they have a chance to have a good season and make a return to the Class 6A playoffs.

Danny P. Smith is the 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 SDN or its staff.