Starkville High’s football team, cheerleaders and band flocked the streets of Starkville on Tuesday for a parade celebrating its recent Class 5A State championship.
Starting in the parking lot of Starkville Daily News, the parade headed along North Jackson, before turning onto Main Street and continuing along its route where it ended upon the steps of the Greensboro Center.
As the parade arrived at the Greensboro Center, SHS athletic director Stan Miller greeted the waiting fans before handing things over to coach Jamie Mitchell.
Mitchell began his time recounting the early season struggles that plagued Starkville and led to a 1-3 start. From there, Mitchell spoke on the dedication of his team which never gave up and ultimately brought home the championship. The coach ended his time in front of the fans by pointing towards the “golden ball” trophy and team picture which brought cheers from the crowd.
Those cheers mean a lot to the coach. He knows that the parade and celebration are just a small example of the community’s appreciation for his team’s hard work.
“It is great for our kids,” Mitchell said. “They earned every minute of this. We had a great crowd here (Tuesday) and downtown as well. I am just really pleased the community came out and supported these guys.”
Seeing the support from the community resonated with Mitchell and further reinforced why he came to Starkville High in the first place.
“The expectations here are so great and that is one of the reasons I wanted to be here,” Mitchell said. "They demand that you win here and they believe in contending for state championships. It is amazing. Everywhere I go, people are just excited about it and this town is excited and I couldn’t be happier for them.”
The ceremony continued with performances by both junior varsity and varsity cheerleaders, the band and appearances by athletes including Gabe Myles and Stanley Higgins.
After speaking to the crowd, Myles gave his thoughts on just what a celebration like Tuesday means for the future of Yellowjacket football and what it means for the entire Starkville community.
“It is a good feeling to be recognized for winning,” Myles said. “This is only going to motivate other teams to win state championships and to make Starkville High better. Starkville has a wonderful support system. I am just happy they were out here and we could win a state championship for them.”
As the celebration began to wind down, there was one last presentation to be made. Todd Kelly, a representative of the Mississippi High School Athletic Association was on hand to present the team with its state championship banner.
The celebration of Starkville High’s championship football team means a great deal to Miller, who is just grateful for the outpouring of community support.
“The community has really come together and that is exciting,” Miller said. “For any community to come together is exciting, but to come together the way they did is just special. From the mayor, to the alderman, to all the community people and all of our Yellowjacket supporters, they all worked together to throw a parade for these kids and I know everybody is elated by it. I can’t say enough for this coaching staff and what coach Mitchell had done for us.”
Miller ended the celebration just as the team’s season ended with a huge shout of “Go Jackets!”