These are good times to be a former Starkville High School quarterback.
Jaquez Johnson is having an outstanding season so far with the East Mississippi Community College Lions, while Brad Henderson, a former signal caller with the Yellowjackets and Lions, has enjoyed some good moments at Northwestern State.
It's been a couple of years since Johnson has played at SHS, but waited his turn at EMCC and it seems the patience has been rewarded.
After the departure of Bo Wallace to Ole Miss, Johnson has stepped right in as quarterback and the Lions haven't missed a beat from last year's national championship season.
Johnson was honored as the MACJC Offensive Player of the Week last week, then he went out and had another outstanding effort against Mississippi Delta.
In EMCC's 56-0 victory, Johnson completed 21-of-38 pass attempts for 228 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for 61 yards and two more scores on six carries.
During his days with the Jackets, Johnson was known for making plays with his feet. He has continued to work on his passing skills as well as appears to have developed into a well-rounded quarterback.
Johnson has carried the football 21 times for 103 yards and three touchdowns for the Lions, but the most impressive numbers are in the passing game as he has completed 80-of-137 attempts for 1,113 yards and 12 scores.
The EMCC offense has been productive with Johnson at the controls. After generating 786 yards of total offense at Southwest Community College, the Lions scored on their first five possessions against Mississippi Delta.
Henderson seems to be another player who has improved at each level reached.
After his days with the Yellowjackets, Henderson went to EMCC and had some good seasons. He signed with Northwestern State once his days in Scooba were done.
In his first season with the Demons in 2011, Henderson completed 179-of-290 pass attempts for 1,865 yards and 12 touchdowns. Already this season, he has completed 67-of-116 pass attempts for 672 yards with five touchdowns.
Henderson threw for 127 yards and three touchdowns in Northwestern State's 45-14 victory over Mississippi Valley State last Saturday.
Playing against a school from his home state had to be motivational for him.
It's always nice to see players who you watched perform in high school move on to bigger and better things.
There's a little bit of SHS pride that exists each time Johnson and Henderson take the football field for their respective teams.
EMCC and Northwestern State have a chance to enjoy more success with a couple of former Jackets buzzing around.
Danny P. Smith is 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 Daily News or its staff.
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