Monday Morning Quarterback: Starkville 71, Murrah 0

Danny P. Smith

Sports Editor

Sometimes you just have to tip you hat to the opponent.

That’s what Murrah High School football coach Damien Gary did after he watched the film of Friday night’s game against Starkville High School.

Gary’s Mustangs were beaten in every phase of the game as the Jackets won easily 71-0 in Class 6A, Region 2 action.

On Saturday morning, Gary heaped large amounts of praise toward Starkville in a message he wrote on Twitter.

“I can honestly say for the most part scheme wise our kids did everything we asked,” Gary wrote. “(SHS) has some of the best (high school) athletes I have ever witnessed. (They were) big, fast and strong.”

It was certainly an impressive display of football from the Jackets, who tied a school record for points in a quarter with 35 in the first quarter.

SHS coach Chris Jones wants to make sure his team gets better every week no matter the opponent. He believes that happened against the Mustangs.

He thought the Jackets won the field position battle throughout the night and credited Zitavious Williams for his effort as a punt returner.

It’s easy to see what Luke Altmyer, Rodrigues Clark and Rufus Harvey do by looking at the stat sheet for SHS, but Williams had six punt returns for 57 yards and Jones said that doesn’t need to be forgotten.

“He fielded all the punts and was not being afraid to be a punt returner,” Jones said. “A lot of it is willing to catch the ball and get up the field. A lot of kids are afraid to catch punts.”

Williams was also a factor on defense with seven tackles and a 16-yard fumble recovery return for a touchdown.

The Jackets had another solid defensive outing as they only allowed Murrah one first down in the game. If SHS continues to get that type of play from that side of the football, it will have great chances to win the rest of the games on its schedule.

As far as other observations of the team, Altmyer continues to perform well at quarterback, KJ Lawrence impressed with his running ability and the 52-yard field goal from Garin Boniol speaks for itself.

“Everybody got a chance to play (Friday night),” Jones said. “It was a good team win, but it’s on to the next.”

A much more difficult challenge awaits the Jackets next in Warren Central.

Starkville must build on what it did against Murrah and continue that momentum into this week.

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.