Opposing viewpoint: Oxford

Staff Writer

It’s Little Egg Bowl week as Oxford and Starkville continue a long-standing rivalry that began in 1944 and ran through 1980 consecutively but just recently became a “big deal” again.

It was the year 2012 when the Yellow Jackets and Chargers got the party back going again and it has been dubbed the Little Egg Bowl ever since playing off of the Mississippi State and Ole Miss rivalry. Starkville has won five of six games since that time and has taken the last four games in the series including a 28-21 game last season.

The Chargers aren’t quite the football contender they were when they competed in Class 5A. They moved up to the largest classification last season and finished 8-4 as they missed the playoffs with a 4-3 record in Region 1.

Oxford returns quarterback John Meagher, who came in for relief in the second half of the Starkville game last season and helped it to a comeback that tied the game and sent it to overtime. The Jackets eventually won the game in two overtimes, but Meagher gave everyone a glimpse of the future.

Two explosive playmakers are gone for the Chargers as they lost running back Hiram Wadlington and wide receiver Jaquan Webb, so they’re searching to find breakthrough players on that side of the football. The real issue could be on defense where Oxford lost its top five tacklers from a season ago.

“They’ve lost a lot,” Starkville coach Chris Jones said. “I think it’s kind of similar to where we were last year as they’re trying to fit guys in and see where they need to go. They’re well-coached. They’ve got a few guys that kind of stood out (on film). We’ve got to make sure that we key in on those guys and take away what they do best.”

Last week didn’t help matters for a young Oxford team needing reps. It played Warren Central in a driving rain storm and trailed 14-6 in the third quarter before the game was called due to weather. It was a no contest and the Chargers didn’t get a chance to fully test their wills against a good team.

That means Friday night will be the first real opportunity to knock the rust off for Oxford and it’s not coming at a good time against Starkville. A week after SHS worked out the kinks in its own weather delay, it's now ready to go full speed ahead.

It’s not good new for the homestanding Chargers and their quest to take back the Little Egg Bowl Trophy.