Football season comes to a close


Photo by: Hailey Locke

Georgia Grace Thurlow, Staff

The Starkville High School Yellow Jacket football team grew closer and created stronger bonds this season, while breaking a couple of school records. Unfortunately, on Friday, November 16, the Jackets ended their season due to an upsetting loss against Horn Lake High School.  

This season ended with a 13-2 season including the two playoff games. The team traveled to 6 away games this season and won four of the six, but were never defeated at home. The team scored a minimum of 14 points in every game this season. The lowest scoring game for the team was the second loss of the season verses Horn Lake in the state playoffs.  

Mikel Williams is a senior defensive back. “I think we had a great season, even though we had some mistakes in our game verses Horn Lake. Looking back at the season, we could have executed more offense, defense, and special teams” Williams, said. 

The highest scoring game the Jackets played was a 79-0 victory verses the Greenville Hornets. The Jackets defeated 13 teams this season and earned the chance to play in the second round of state playoffs verses the Horn Lake Eagles.   

Sam Hunt is a sophomore wide receiver. “Next football season will be different because we are losing a lot of talent the seniors brought this year, but we still have a lot of talent left,” Hunt said.  

The first loss of the season verses North West Rankin was heartbreaking for the fans, players, cheerleaders, and band members. The Jackets only lost by one touchdown, and the final score was 27-20. Because this was the sixth game of the season, the Jackets were forced to learn quickly from the loss and improve for the next week.  

Junior Josh Aka is a wide receiver for the Jackets. “We just needed [after the loss] to put more effort into practice and improve the team’s energy. We had to learn from the loss and move on,” Aka said. 

Everyone agrees that the hardest loss of the season was not a game. This season Ian Reed passed away due to a tragic car accident, when he was traveling home after Starkville’s long standing rivalry win verses West Point. Reed was a videographer for the football team. In the following weeks, the football team wore warm up shirts that read, “Ian Strong,” on the back. Every week after this, the boys honored Reed and dedicated the rest of their season to him.  

Michael Goss is a senior offensive lineman. “We had to come together to play for Ian. We also had to stay strong, because losing him wasn’t easy,” Goss said. 

This year the football team broke the Starkville High School record for most points scored total in one season. The total number of points scored at the end of the season was 565. Along with breaking a record, the team also had a total of 2,227 rushing yards and 2,589 passing yards.  

The Jackets were 92 percent successful scoring with 85 percent of those scores as touchdowns. 

The Jackets had a couple of hard-working players who achieved recognition for breaking records this year. Junior Rufus Harvey (wide receiver) had over 1,000 receiving yards, the third SHS player to reach 1,000 receiving yards, the fourth time in school history that it has ever been done.  

Sophomore Luke Altmyer is the starting quarterback for the team. “As a sophomore, breaking the total point record for one season means a lot to me, and I will strive next year to break more records,” Altmyer said. 

Senior Rodrigues Clark had the most rushing touchdowns; he scored 26 touchdowns for a total of 156 points. Clark is also the only player on the team to have rushed, caught, and threw for a touchdown.
“Having a record at Starkville High is a big blessing. The players are like my brothers, and this season is definitely one to remember,” Clark said. 

Junior linebacker Quaveyon Gibson said the team will miss its current leadership. “I will miss playing with the seniors and the atmosphere they created. I will also miss the leadership they brought to the team,” Gibson said.