By DANNY P. SMITH
It was appropriate that the Starkville Yellowjackets had 32 points in the first half.
That number matched the jersey number of Starkville's biggest playmaker of the first half.
Junior wide receiver Devin Mitchell had four catches for 105 yards and two touchdowns to help the Jackets to their big halftime advantage and they went on to defeat the Provine Rams 38-7 on a homecoming Friday night at Yellowjacket Stadium.
"I told coach (Jamie Mitchell) that I want to lead us to the championship and I want to be that big playmaker you know I can be," Devin Mitchell said. "I just had to step up and do what I could."
With its second-straight home win in Class 5A, Region 2, District 6, Starkville improved to 4-2 overall and 2-0 in the region, while Provine fell to 3-3 overall and 1-1 in the region.
Coach Mitchell plans to get Devin more involved in the offense for the Jackets.
With Devin's ability to make plays in the open field, Starkville has a chance to get points any time he touches the football.
"He's the fastest player we've got," Coach Mitchell said. "He can flat out get it done so we have to keep finding a way to get him some touches.
"I thought we played great in the last 5 minutes of the first half. They made some mistakes and we were able to capitalize on it and put it away. In that little stretch of time, we were pretty good."
Already leading 14-0 after the first quarter, the Jackets used a little razzle-dazzle to get their third touchdown of the night.
After junior quarterback Gabe Myles tossed the football to Princeton Jones near the sideline, Jones launched a 39-yard touchdown pass to Mitchell with 1:54 left in the second quarter. Preston Baker ran in the 2-point conversion to put SHS up 22-0.
Mitchell was the recipient of another touchdown pass 31 seconds later, this time a 17-yard pass from Myles.
"We've been working on them week after week and we decided to put them to use against Provine," Devin Mitchell said. "We just came out and played as hard as we could."
The Jackets recovered their third fumble of the first half inside 1 minute left of the first half and got in position for Charlie Henderson to kick a 24-yard field goal to provide the halftime score.
The first-quarter scores for Starkville were a 6-yard run by Stanley Higgins and a 7-yard run by Myles.
After Velencia Leonard was crowned homecoming queen for 2011, the Jackets got another touchdown out of the passing game when Myles threw a 15-yard strike to Jimmy Saulsberry at the 8:09 mark of the third quarter.
Provine didn't leave Starkville without scoring as Darius Ellis had a 2-yard touchdown with 7:28 remaining in the game.
Myles finished the night completing 7 of 18 pass attempts for 113 yards and two touchdowns and added 68 more yards on the ground on 11 carries and another score.
The Jackets had 268 yards of total offense with 116 yards coming on the ground and 154 in the air, while the Rams managed 154 total yards with 109 yards rushing and 45 yards passing.
With two backs with over 600 yards rushing each for the season in Jeremy Dotson and Toriante Hinton, Starkville held the Provine duo to 74 combined yards.
"The defense was lights out and we made some plays on offense," Coach Mitchell said. "We didn't get on great rhythm offensively and that's a concern with false starts and that's a mystery because we are so clean in practice. I don't know if it's the noise or what it is."
Starkville looks to correct the mistakes in time for its first road outing in the region next Friday at Ridgeland.