MADISON – The rains fell in Madison on Friday night leading to miscues for the Starkville Yellowjackets.
It helped the Madison Central Jaguars secure a 24-8 victory at home.
Starkville and Madison Central combined for 11 fumbles for the night with SHS having six, losing three.
After opening the game quickly with a 2-0 lead thanks to a David Fair safety on the opening play from scrimmage, the Yellowjackets stalled with two drives inside the Jaguar 10-yard line with no points to show for their effort.
“They played their hearts out, but we got the ball down there inside the 10 and no points either time,” SHS head coach Jamie Mitchell said. “We just didn’t get it done when we had to.”
With the offense sluggish in the downpour, Starkville could ill afford a mistake, but that’s exactly what took place on a Johnny Smith fumble on a punt return leading to a quick-strike 63-yard scoring play for Madison Central.
“That gives them one right off the bat, then the fade, that’s a huge 14-point swing,” Mitchell said.
Sophomore Caleb Wilson earned the first start of his young career due to the fact Gabe Myles couldn’t go after suffering an ankle sprain against Noxubee County in the season opener. The talented youngster went 5-for-14 for 51 yards and an interception. He also carried the ball 10 times for 5 yards.
“Caleb really battled (Friday night),” Mitchell said. “The weather finally let up some in the second half so we could throw it a little.”
When the Jackets took to the air, the result was a quick scoring strike to open the second half capped by a 2-yard touchdown by Preston Baker, who had 68 yards for the game.
“I’m proud of this football team," Mitchell said. "I really thought they fought their tail off. We are so handicapped right now. We lost our best player on offense and our best player on defense, not counting the others that are hurt right now.”
Sophomore Jaquez Horsley led Starkville with 76 yards on 13 carries, but mistakes and injuries were just too much to overcome.
“We are going to keep fighting, keep battling and our bad luck with injuries is going to stop somewhere along the way,” Mitchell said. “It is a brand new week and I promise you this, the Yellowjackets will be in Tupelo next Friday and be ready to play. I know that much about our team. Things are not going our way right now but that will change.”
Starkville will once again be on the road next week facing the Tupelo Golden Wave with a 7:30 p.m. kickoff.