Monday Morning Quarterback: Starkville 63, Provine 12

Joel Coleman

Staff Writer

Little things in life can make a big difference.

It’s no different, and perhaps even more apparent, in the world of sports.

How many times in baseball have you seen a line drive down a line land just foul? Or how about in basketball, a shot looks like it should go in, but it rims out.

An inch here, or a flick of the wrist there. Little things make all the difference.

That’s why Starkville head coach Chris Jones is emphasizing to his football team how important the little things are because, quite frankly, right now, the only thing that can stop these 5-0 Yellow Jackets is not doing the little things.

“Anytime that you play really good teams, it’s the little stuff that’ll get you beat,” Jones said on Friday night, only moments after his team destroyed Provine 63-12 in the Class 6A, Region 2 opener. “It’s not the stuff that the normal person might see. When you go back and watch film, we can see things as coaches because we know how it’s supposed to look. We know even if it’s a play we scored on or something. At the end of the day, we understand that we missed a block or we missed an assignment. We’ve got to clean up some stuff. We’ve got to get better because when you play really good teams, you can’t afford to make any of those mistakes.”

Friday night was the first time this season I’ve had the chance to watch Starkville play. I knew the Jackets were really good. I came away floored at the talent level on that football field. There are weapons all over the place.

You want offense? Starkville’s got it. Rodrigues Clark is a beast. He accounted for 105 yards and three touchdowns on Friday. Luke Altmyer is as good of a high school quarterback as you’ll see, and he’s only going to get better because he’s only a sophomore.

Rufus Harvey is Altmyer’s favorite target and he’s a nightmare for opponents too.

As good as the Starkville offense is though, man, that defense is something else. Not to be overly dramatic, but I’m hard pressed to think of a more impressive high school defensive front.

The Jackets showed out again on Friday, as they seemingly do every week. Jaylan Ware, Jalil Clemons and Zach Edwards combined for 15 tackles, three sacks and seven tackles for loss. Oh by the way, they did all that damage before halftime! It’s amazing to watch those boys work.

Yet what did Edwards say post game? He sounded much like his head coach, looking for perfection.

“We have to pay attention to detail,” Edwards said. “We have to be locked in and focused and we’ll be fine.”

Starkville will hit the practice fields this week and start ironing out its wrinkles. Honestly, to my eyes, there doesn’t look like many to straighten out. However Jones sees it much differently. That’s why he consistently guides winning football teams and I just sit at my computer and write about it.

The Jackets are determined to finish the job this season after losing in the state title game a year ago. Maybe the only thing that can stop Starkville is itself. That’s why everything, every last detail, is so important moving forward.

Joel Coleman is a sports writer for The Starkville Daily News. The opinions in this column are Coleman's and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SDN or its staff.