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On the road again: Jackets return to capital city for Class 5A, Region 2 play

September 28, 2012

Starkville High School' head football coach Jamie Mitchell, right, and his staff know the path to Jackson pretty well. (Photo by Kim Murrell, SDN)

On the road again.

The Starkville Yellowjackets make their third trip to the Jackson area of the season tonight when they meet the Provine Rams. Kickoff for the final game of September is set for 7:30 p.m.

After traveling to beat Lanier 48-0 last week, the Jackets make back-to-back visits to the capital city.

"It does start to get old," SHS football coach Jamie Mitchell said. "It doesn't feel like we've been at home in forever. That's just the way it goes."

Mitchell probably wouldn't mind it very much if the Jackets keep playing like they did in the first Class 5A, Region 2, District 6 game against Lanier.

After going 1-3 in the pre-region schedule, Starkville took care of business against Lanier.

Mitchell was pleased with the way the Jackets performed to open region play.

"They realize our second season has started and our goals are 100 percent in front of us," Mitchell said. "We're 1-0 in the games that matter. They've really bought into that approach. They know how big (tonight) is."

Provine, which has records of 3-2 overall and 0-1 in the region, appears to be stronger than fellow city dweller Lanier and Mitchell thought the Rams would be one of the stronger squads in the region.

"Not to say anything negative against any team, but we thought going in that Provine, Callaway and Ridgeland are the three toughest (in the region) and we've got Provine and Ridgeland back-to-back," Mitchell said. "It's a monumental task for us. (Provine has) a seasoned program that knows how to play in big games."

With an open date two weeks ago and a game against Lanier where SHS was able to rest players, Mitchell feels pretty good about the health of his team.

Quarterback Gabe Myles is much improved with his ankle and running back Preston Baker will try to play on an ankle that was severely sprained against West Point three weeks ago.

"(Baker) is going to try and give it a go," Mitchell said. "He's certainly not 100 percent, but he's been able to practice. He's so valuable to us and not just carrying the football, but he does so many things for us.

"We are finally going to have our quarterback back for the most part and a few guys pieced together. We finally have a team on the field we feel pretty good about. It's the anticipation to see what's going to happen. It's a big, big game for us."

Myles, who has completed 18-of-38 pass attempts for 263 yards and three touchdowns this season, was only able to play 19 snaps against Lanier and that's also a cause for concern for Mitchell that certain Jackets may not be in the best game shape.

"We had an open week and your starters play less than 20-25 snaps (last week)," Mitchell said. "Are we ready to play four quarters? We won't know that until we play."

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