The Starkville High School 9th grade Yellowjackets started fast against the Louisville Wildcats Thursday night.
When quarterback Montario Montgomery found Terrance Grayer for a 61-yard touchdown pass on the first offensive possession of the game for Starkville and Deontay Rogers ran in the two-point conversion, it was the first eight of what turned out to be 28 points for the home team.
Starkville did enough offensively and held on to defeat Louisville 28-22 at Yellowjacket Stadium.
Following the first score of the night for the Starkville 9th graders, the Wildcats came back to cut the margin to two points with a touchdown of their own. The two-point conversion was no good.
The Jackets ended the quarter with another big play as Jontavious Gardner intercepted a pass and took it 70 yards for a score with 24 seconds remaining. Starkville had a 16-6 lead at the end of the first quarter.
At halftime, the Jackets held a 22-14 advantage as the two squads traded touchdowns. The score for Starkville was a 25-yard pass from Montgomery to Parker Lemm.
The Jackets extended the margin to 28-14 with 8 seconds remaining in the third quarter on a 15-yard run by Gardner.
The only points in the final quarter was by the Wildcats within the last 2 minutes and their attempt at an on-side kick was recovered by Starkville.
The Jackets, who improved their record to 3-2, are on the road the next two Tuesdays at Kosciusko and West Point.
8th Grade Game
Starkville 24, Louisville 0
The 8th grade Jackets earned the shutout after being challenged most of the game by a determined Louisville squad that wanted to throw the football.
"I thought we played pretty good defense against a potent offense that throws the ball real well, so I was pleased with that," Starkville coach Steve Denson said. "The few mistakes we made were wide open and good things happen when you do that.
"I thought our offensive line played as good a game as they have all year. They knocked them off the football well."
The Jackets got rushing touchdowns from Kylin Boyd, Darren Hall and Makell Brown. Brown had both carries on a two-play drive that covered 26 yards.
Hall, Marcieu Barber and Willie Gray had two-point conversion runs for Starkville.
The Jackets won their second-straight game to improve their record to 3-2.
"We started off struggling and got beat by a real good Columbus team, which has been pretty much running the show in our conference since then," Denson said. "We've been playing pretty good football lately and have won two in a row and appear to be on the upswing now."