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Magnolia Heights effort worries coach

August 31, 2011

Magnolia Heights

With just two weeks of the high school football season completed, Magnolia Heights head coach Cliff Young has a rather blunt assessment of his team as they come to town to battle Starkville Academy on Friday.
Even though the Chiefs responded from an opening-week loss to Marshall Academy by defeating Kirk Academy last Friday, Young says he is leading a squad with plenty of holes into Friday's 7 p.m. matchup.
"Right now, we're not very good," said Young. "We're having too many mental mistakes. We're making too many penalties – we had 13 of them last week. We had two turnovers last week. The week before that we had five turnovers. We've had six bad snaps.
"We're just really young, really inexperienced and we have a lot of cleaning up to do."
For Young and the Chiefs, there would be no time like the present to begin putting all the miscues in the past. A season ago, Magnolia Heights came to Starkville and suffered a 34-22 loss to the Volunteers.
To avoid the same fate again, the Chiefs will rely heavily on the legs of quarterback Jamell Newsome.
"He rushed for three scores for us last week," said Young. "He really does a good job running the football for us."
Newsome will receive support in the form of tailback Kevin Barber.
"(Barber) is starting to come into his own a little bit," said Young. "He's not there yet, but we see some potential there."
Defensively, the Chiefs are anchored by the linebacking duo of Sharkey Luna and Hugh Taylor.
Young hopes Newsome, Barber, Luna and Taylor can spearhead Magnolia Heights' attempt to carry over the momentum of last Friday's victory, but knows his team must steer clear of the errors that have been haunting them over this season's first two weeks.
"Overall, we played pretty good offensively (last week)," said Young. "But defensively, we've got to get a lot better than we are right now. We're missing tackles and we're out of position a lot of the time. Offensively, of course we've still got those mistakes we need to clean up there as well. We've just got a whole lot of improving to do."

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