Opposing viewpoint: Murrah

Staff Writer

Murrah has had a long line of great players come out of its program over the years and recently had do-it-all quarterback Malik Dear, who now plays slot receiver for Mississippi State.

Since Dear left the school, however, the Mustangs have become increasingly less competitive. This year’s team enters Friday night’s game against Starkville in Jackson at 1-7. Its one win came in a 21-8 victory a month ago to Jim Hill. The Mustangs have played, and lost, to two common opponents that Starkville has played in recent weeks dropping a 42-34 decision to Greenville and a 49-21 loss to Madison Central.

New coach Damien Gary has had his hands full as his team is off to an 0-4 start in Region 2 play.

“They’re struggling this year and a lot of it is because they have a new coach that got there kind of late," Starkville coach Chris Jones said. "He’s doing the best that he can getting his guys ready. You never know. They might be ready this week, so we have to make sure we come in and compete at a high level.”

The Starkville defense is preparing to face some physical options on offense, however. Murrah has some players that can make things difficult for opposing offenses and the Mustangs have been able to score points at times this year.

Senior cornerback Natrone Brooks of the Jackets has been in the film room with his teammates and coaches this week. The unit has been focused on keeping everything in front of them over the next few weeks and continuing to take care of business.

“We watched some film and their quarterback is really physical," Brooks said. "He doesn’t want to make any moves he just wants to run through you. We saw a few plays from them and they have some guys that can make plays.”

Jones isn’t going to ignore the fact that Murrah isn’t nearly the talented team it's been in the past, but he knows how rugged this division can be and there’s a reason teams play the game. There won’t a Dear at quarterback on Friday night, however.

“(The talent) is not on that level at all, but we can be beat if we come out and play around and not do our job,” Jones said. “The key this week is to stay focused, lock in and do your job. We don’t want to give them a chance to beat us.”

Starkville enters Friday night’s game having won the last four contests over Murrah 56-8, 42-14, 31-6 and 46-28.