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Jackets sting in spring: SHS defense holds Columbus to 64 yards in game

April 24, 2012

The Starkville defense led by Raphael McClain (22) and others brings down a Columbus ball carrier during Tuesday's spring game. (Photo by Kim Murrell, SDN)

Gabe Myles tossed a pair of touchdowns to help Jamie Mitchell and the Starkville Yellowjackets complete spring football with a 17-8 win over the Columbus Falcons on Tuesday night.

The Yellowjackets scored on their first possession when Myles found Preston Baker for a 65-yard touchdown strike.

“I’m anxious to see the film as always, I’ll grade a lot more off of that,” said Mitchell who guided the Yellowjackets to the Class 5A State Championship game last season. “Offensively, I think we did some really good things in the first half. The second half we kind of tried to protect Gabe a little bit and we backed off Baker a bit. Defensively, I thought we were really good and we are going to have to be.”

Mitchell saying the defense was ‘good’ is a drastic understatement as they stymied the Falcons most of the night. In fact, SHS held Columbus to just 64 yards of total offense.

The Falcons were 5-of-19 for 18 yards through the air and had 32 rushes for 46 yards.

For Starkville, Myles led the team through the air going 10-of-19 for 181 yards, two scores, and one interception.

“He’s got to be the leader of our football team,” said Mitchell of his talented quarterback. “That’s not really his way. He’s more of a lead by example guy but we need him to step forward and be that vocal leader. He’s going to be the best player on the field on most Friday nights.”

The top target through the air was senior receiver Baker, who caught three footballs for 104 yards and a score and with the likely absence of the injured Jimmy Saulsberry, Baker and the rest of the receiving core must step up.

“We’ve got some more talented wideouts," Mitchell said. "(Quavarious) Robinson did some good things (Tuesday). Rice got a lot of reps (Tuesday night). Princeton Jones had a great catch in the end zone. We’ve got some guys that can play that haven’t really had a chance. They are now going to get their chance."

Overall, the outing was just what Mitchell was looking for and hopes his team finds its hunger for a championship over the summer.

“I’d like to see more (hunger), but this team has been through a lot,” he said. “We lost a great person and a great player in Devin (Mitchell) and we’ve been banged up this spring. They’ve been through some stuff that has challenged our character. We’ve got to find our hot button and get going a little bit in the want-to department.”

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