Monday Morning Quarterback: Starkville 72, Columbus 6

Robbie Faulk

Staff Writer

I’m not a coach or a player so I’m afforded a little leeway on thinking ahead and going beyond the week that is in sports.

So going into last week, I already felt pretty good about what was going to happen on Friday night for Starkville High School at Columbus. No offense to the Falcons intended, but I saw them in the first weekend against West Point and it was already determined that the game against the Yellow Jackets could get very ugly.

Columbus was out-manned and had inferior talent at every position and SHS is playing defense as well as anyone in the state of Mississippi. All that has been missing is consistency from the offense and this was a good time for that to start to round into form.

The only thing that didn’t go the way of the Jacket on Friday was a first-possession stall inside the 10-yard line that ended with a field goal. Coach Chris Jones mentioned post game that he wasn’t happy about that and wants SHS to clean things up. I understand his position 100 percent and his goal is to win a state championship.

However, it was hard to find any more issues with his team the rest of the way.

The Jackets scored on all but one possession in the entire game. It was, perhaps, one of the biggest beatdowns I’ve ever seen, and it was the third-most points scored in school history. After wading through several clock stoppages in the second half and score after score, we finally had a resolution at 72-6.

In a word, it was complete domination.

Starkville racked up 523 yards of offense and had 253 yards on the ground. Luke Altmyer was efficient with 13-of-17 for 222 yards and two touchdowns, and NyJal Johnson continued to get work and had another perfect game going 5-for-5 in the second half.  

What stood out the most was the continuation of a strong senior season for Rodrigues Clark, who reminded of his last trip to Falcon Field when he was in ninth grade. Coincidentally, that was the first time I had the chance to see Clark and I remember thinking that I was watching something special.

That night in the junior varsity game, Clark ran all over the Falcons for four touchdowns and somewhere around 250 yards. He looked like the Adrian Peterson of junior varsity football and then-coach David Boykin told me after the game that he was going to be one of the best to ever come through SHS.

Clark was good again on Friday and needed just nine carries to put up another 100-yard performance. He finished with 117 yards and two scores as he’s up to nine touchdowns for the year. His season numbers now sit at 59 carries for 488 yards, an average of 8.3 yards per attempt, and it’s important to point out that been on the bench for the second half of two of the four games.

It’s so hard to find things to nitpick for the Jackets as they’re out to this 4-0 start and have yet to have a game decided by single digits, but the off week will be the time to do it. They have this week away from a game to clean up some things and Jones already has in mind what they need to correct.

While we observe and comment on these games projecting a state championship for SHS before it's even gotten to district play, Jones knows how things go when teams look ahead. Many of the players need only to be reminded of the 2014 team that blitzed through the entire schedule before being upended at home in the playoffs short of the state championship game.

Games are still there to be played and the target has never been bigger on this Yellow Jacket bunch. It’s why Jones accepts nothing but the best from his players and they’ll continue to play every game like it’s the last on their schedule.

With that attitude, it makes for a scary sight for the rest of Class 6A. 

Robbie Faulk is the high school writer for The Starkville Daily News. The opinions in this column are Faulk's and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SDN or its staff.