LOUISVILLE – It’s hard to imagine Jamie Mitchell’s first victory in the black and gold being more one-sided.
The first-year head coach of the Yellowjackets football program got a 34-0 victory since taking over the Starkville program in dominating fashion in a major rivalry game at Louisville.
“It doesn’t get much better than that to play that way in a game that means so much to both communities,” Mitchell said. “After losing a heartbreaker last week, our kids responded in a big way.”
The game couldn’t have gotten off to a better start for the Yellowjackets (1-1) as the defense sacked Louisville freshman quarterback Wyatt Roberts twice on their opening drive and then took the ball 67 yards on just 10 plays for the game’s first score.
SHS senior quarterback Jazquez Johnson took a quarterback draw 22 yards but fumbled the ball before entering the end zone but a pair of Yellowjackets dove on the ball and halfway through the first quarter Starkville already had a touchdown on the board.
Johnson finished with 192 total yards and three touchdowns in just three and a half quarters of action as the SHS offensive line manhandled a smaller Louisville (0-2) team up front. Starkville ended the game with over 404 yards on the ground mostly with runs inside the tackles.
“Our offensive line was so good tonight that it made everything so much easier,” Johnson said. “I played a real good game because I didn’t get sacked or touched.”
On the second drive, Johnson let everybody know what he can do with his right arm when he executed a beautifully thrown fade pass to the corner of the end zone for a 27-yard touchdown during a third-and-22 situation.
“My passing game is something I’ve been working on every day and this was my best game doing that,” Johnson said.
Johnson showcased his skills on the defensive side when he intercepted a Louisville pass late in the first half when the Wildcats were trying to mount some late points on the board.
Roberts, Louisville’s first ever freshman to start at quarterback, struggled to ever have time to move the Wildcats shotgun passing attack as he was sacked three times. The transfer from Winston Academy finished the evening just 2-for-5 for 17 yards. Roberts would be replaced late in the second quarter while the 5-foot-10, 170-pounder held a ice pack on his non-throwing wrist. Louisville officials reported early in the fourth quarter the freshman had suffered a fractured left forearm.
“They started off the game wanted to rattle our quarterback and that’s exactly what they did,” Louisville head coach M.C. Miller said. “If he’s out a long time, it’ll certainly affect what we do from here on.”
Starkvile’s defense allowed Louisville only three first downs in an opening half where the host Wildcats failed to get across midfield throughout the first 21 minutes. The Yellowjackets outgained the host Wildcats 229-35 in the first half.
The game was under an 30-minute weather delay after the end of the first half.
Starkville takes its .500 record on the road against the preseason No. 2 ranked team in Class 6A with they face Meridian next week.
“I’ll say this all year that these kids deserve all the credit in the world because nobody plays a tougher schedule – not even South Panola,” Mitchell said.