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September 3, 2011

Starkville wins another close one

STARKVILLE, Miss., - For the second week in a row Starkville has found a way to make the plays when it needed it the most.

After narrowly defeating Madison Central 16-14 a week ago, the Yellow Jackets once again rose to the occasion to down Tupelo 10-7 Friday night.

"We will take a win," said Starkville head coach Jamie Mitchell. "Two weeks in a row we've won by a field goal."

The Yellow Jackets struggled offensively managing only 143 yards but its defense pulled through holding Tupelo to 102 yards (28 rushing) and recording six sacks led by senior linebacker Alex Graham's three sack effort.

"(The defense) was just absolutely lights out," Mitchell said.

Quarterback Gabe Myles led Starkville with 108 yards and a touchdown. Myles completed 8-of-19 passing for 77 yards and a touchdown while adding another 31 yards rushing on 14 attempts.

The two teams went into halftime locked in a scoreless stalemate. In fact both teams had combined to manage only 74 yards of offense (Starkville 56, Tupelo 18).

But a Golden Wave fumble on the fourth play of the second half allowed Starkville to capitalize for the first points of the game.

The Yellow Jackets took over at the 40-yards line and moved in close enough for Charlie Henderson to boot a 30-yard field goal.

Starkville would finally get into the end zone with 1:38 to play in the third quarter when Myles connected with Preston Baker on a 23-yard touchdown pass. Henderson kicked the point after putting the Yellow Jackets up 10-0.

But Tupelo would mount a comeback in the final quarter and took advantage of a muffed punt by Baker that was recovered at the SHS 38-yard line. Three Starkville penalties aided the drive that saw senior running back Tenerious Montgomery plow in from 4-yards out to pull the Golden Wave within a field goal with just over eight minutes to play.

Tupelo would get only more possession the rest of the way and gave themselves an opportunity to tie things up with three minutes remaining. Senior quarterback Luke Hobson orchestrated a 12-play drive that started at his own 14-yard line to set up a game-tying 38-yard field goal by Drew White.

But Yellow Jacket junior Devin Mitchell had other ideas as he came in off the left edge to block White's attempt to save the win and improve Starkville to 2-1 on the season.

"It's kind of ironic that we've worked so hard on field goal block this week and what a play," Mitchell said. "Devin Mitchell blocks it and that was the difference in the game. It paid off."

The loss drops David Bradberry's Tupelo squad to 1-2 on the year. Hobson led the Golden Wave with 103 yards of offense completing 5-of-18 passing for 78 yards and rushing 15 times for 29 yards.

Tupelo was playing without the services of dynamic junior running back Ashton Shumpert who is out 3-4 weeks with a stress fracture in his lower leg suffered in the Golden Wave's jamboree.


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