Opposing viewpoint: Greenville

Staff Writer

There is no shortage of athletes in Greenville.

The Delta town has produced countless great players over the years and Greenville High has been a product of sending those kids to the next level. Unfortunately for the Hornet football team, that hasn’t led to very many successful seasons as a team.

Most of that is due to head coaching turnover as the Hornets are on their fifth coach in seven years with Sherod Gideon at the helm.

Starkville coach Chris Jones has watched from afar as Greenville has filtered players to the next level and can’t help but wonder when it will all come together. He’s hoping that’s not on Friday night when the Yellowjackets travel to take on their Region 2 buzzing counterparts.

“Come signing day, they always have some guys that sign whether it be at Auburn, Mississippi State or wherever it may be,” Jones said. “There are always players there.

“There’s a lot of turnover there with a new coach year in and year out. Once they get some stability with the program, with the talent that they have, I feel like it will be a good place. Hopefully they don’t decide to turn it around against us on Friday night.”

Greenville hasn’t scored a point against Starkville since 2013 and have been outscored 195-6 since that time. Junior defensive lineman Jalil Clemons played in last year’s blowout at Starkville and feels like the Jackets are the better team as do most.

However, the defender understands just how dangerous this division can be on any given night. He won’t be taking anyone for granted when the lights come on at 7 p.m.

“We beat them 70-0 last year, but this year they’re going to come out and play their best ball,” Clemons said. “We’re going to give them our best as well and just play ball. I like playing in this division. There’s a lot of competition in 6A.”

A 1-5 mark this year is somewhat skewed considering that most of the games thus far have been competitive. That includes the Hornets taking former Starkville coach Ricky Woods and South Panola to the limit in a 22-20 heartbreaking loss last month.

They also have a division win under their belt as they beat Murrah 42-34 two weeks ago but traveled to Warren Central and succumbed to the Vikings with a 41-8 loss.  

Greenville possesses a high-powering offense despite the losing record with quarterback Tayvon Littlejohn already racking up 1,722 passing yards and 14 touchdowns in just six games. He also leads the team with 233 yards rushing and three scores. He has three receivers with over 20 catches this year led by Zhaire Green and Ruffino Griffin, who have 33 and 31 catches each for a combined 969 yards.

“I think they can be a threat," Jones said. "I don’t want to sleep on them. They’ve got a quarterback who has thrown for almost 1,800 yards right now. They’ve always had athletes so we don’t want this to be a trap game. On paper, everybody is probably picking us to win, but it’s all about game day.”