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Jackets hit reset button during open date

September 13, 2012

Starkville High School senior quarterback Gabe Myles (5) had 171 yards of total offense, while playing on a bad ankle against West Point last Friday. (Photo by Kim Murrell, SDN)

Starkville High School quarterback Gabe Myles was able to play well against West Point on a bad ankle.

The Yellowjackets are hoping that with this week's open date, Myles will be close to 100 percent for the first Class 5A, Region 2 game at Lanier on Sept. 21.

SHS coach Jamie Mitchell thought Myles played well even though his sprained ankle was not fully healed, but knows he can be a much more dangerous player if completely healthy.

"He's better than anybody else when he's 100 percent," Mitchell said. "I hope by the time we get to Lanier, he'll be that way."

After being limited to only 6 yards passing and no yards rushing in the season-opener against Noxubee County, Myles came back into the lineup to run for 37 yards on 10 carries and completed 11 of 18 pass attempts for 134 yards against West Point.

The Jackets have had their share of injuries through the first four games of the season.

With the nature of the injuries, it will be difficult to get some of those players back even in two week's time, but Mitchell said it does give SHS a chance to hit the reset button prior to division playing starting.

"We can step back and understand the first four games, yes they are important, but in the grand scheme of things, they have no say at all about where we're going to finish," Mitchell said. "It gives us a great chance to refocus and understand division play is what matters."

The Jackets practiced Monday and Tuesday, lifted weights only on Wednesday, practiced Thursday and will lift weights only today.

High school teams handle open dates in different ways, but Mitchell said there's no need to overdo things.

"We felt like three days to go out and work on some things we needed to work on would be helpful for us," Mitchell said. "We give them two days to get home and get some school work done as well."

It may be an open date for the SHS varsity, but not for the junior varsity as it played West Point Tuesday night.

The Jacket junior varsity has beaten West Point twice and split with Columbus.

Mitchell likes the progress of the group that should be 4-0 in his opinion.

"It's been really good and it's a great place for us to start to find some different talent," Mitchell said. "Generally, how it works if they show up good in junior varsity, we will try to work them in on special teams somewhere on the varsity level. If they continue to show well on special teams, we'll start to incorporate them somewhere on offense or defense. There are several guys who have earned their way going through that system and it has been really good for us."

With Caleb Wilson starting at quarterback while Myles was nursing his sprained ankle and third string Princeton Jones also banged up, Mitchell gave Nigil Randle some experience as the signal caller in junior varsity.

"He hasn't played at quarterback since pee-wee ball, but we used him there last week against Columbus," Mitchell said. "We were basically down to our fourth quarterback. He stepped in there and did a really good job. It's always an adventure, but really good for us."

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