There's nothing like a big play between two former Starkville Yellowjackets to give the East Mississippi Community College Lions the spark they needed on offense Saturday afternoon.
When quarterback Jaquez Johnson found Billy Shed for a 46-yard completion late in the third quarter, it set up the Lions for their first touchdown of the game.
EMCC cashed in with a 1-yard touchdown by Rodriguez Moore and what started out as a defensive struggle for three quarters, turned into a 35-0 victory over Holmes Community College.
Shed knew someone had to step up for the Lions on offense.
"We were struggling the whole first half, so we just needed to get the ball to the skilled people, let them do what they do and make plays," Shed said. "That's what our team is based on is playmakers. When we got that spark, we just continued on from there."
Johnson and Shed also hooked up on a 24-yard completion at the end of the first half that gave EMCC a position feeling that it could eventually get something going on offense.
It's not the first time that Johnson and Shed have shared that type of success on the field. They had those kind of moments during their Starkville High School careers.
Johnson, who ended up throwing three touchdown passes in the game, likes having Shed as an option on offense.
"It helps because I know what he's going to do and he knows what I'm looking at, so we've got a good connection," Johnson said.
Johnson tossed scoring passes of 32 yards to Nick Brassell, 32 yards to Moore and 16 yards to Martay Mattox.
Along with Johnson and Shed, there are a few other former Jackets buzzing around Scooba these days.
With Johnson, Shed, D.J. Jordan, Jarrod Atterberry and Martavius Foster on the roster of East Mississippi Community College, there's definitely an SHS flavor present with the EMCC football program. They are all listed at the top of the depth chart at their respective positions.
Johnson has taken over at quarterback this season for the departed Bo Wallace, while Shed is a starter at receiver, and Atterberry is at the top of the two-deep at left offensive guard. Jordan starts at the MIKE linebacker spot, as does Foster at one of the defensive end positions.
It took a little bit for the Lions to get going on offense, but the defense did its job in the meantime.
Credit must be given to the visiting Bulldogs, who didn't seem intimidated one bit by coming into the house of the defending national champions.
Holmes played toe-to-toe with EMCC for three quarters and really did some good things defensively itself.
Former Eupora Eagle Bobby Hill was an impressive physical presence at linebacker for the Bulldogs and he made several tackles. He sacked Johnson on one particular play with 7:57 left in the second quarter.
Hill and former East Webster athlete Ledrick Patterson represent the area on the Holmes roster.
While observing the several players performing at the junior college level on Saturday, it proves even more the strength of high school football locally.
Danny P. Smith is sports editor and columnist for the Starkville Daily News. The opinions in this column are his and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Daily News or its staff.