Opposing viewpoint: Madison Central

Staff Writer

Earlier this week when speaking on Madison Central, Starkville coach Chris Jones quickly threw out the word “tradition.”

That’s what the Jaguars have been known for in the state of Mississippi for several years and legendary coaches like Mike Justice and Bobby Hall laid the foundation for many wins over the years. The same could be said now for second-year head coach Anthony Hart, who has parlayed an outstanding career at Lafayette and Franklin County into a job at one of the top high school jobs in the state back last March.

In year one in a bit of a rebuild, Hart had his team right in the thick of things. The Jaguars won 10 games, including seven-straight into the playoffs, and got to the second round against eventual state champs Clinton before losing a heartbreaking 38-34 thriller.

This year Madison Central is off to a 6-1 start and come to Starkville on Friday carrying an identical 3-0 record as the Yellowjackets with the Region 2 lead on the line.
Jones is very impressed with this group.

“It’s a real good team," Jones said. "They’re well-coached with some good players over there. They have a lot of tradition and are used to winning.”

The strength of the team, agreed upon by Jones and Hart, is the defense. The unit returns a plethora of talent from a year ago led by seniors Kirkland Trahan, Truett Bourne and Cam White. All three have been the driving force for a team that has been stingy on defense all season.

“We’ve played really well on defense all year,” Hart said. “We’re trying to get a little better on offense, but we feel really good about our team right now. I feel like things have really come together.”

Offensively, White also gives the Jaguars a push. The talented athlete is a starting running back and the only two-way player on the team. He leads the Jags with 589 yards on the ground and seven touchdowns.

Madison Central has run the ball 267 times in seven games as opposed to just 77 passes.

The Jaguars are prepared to take on a great opponent thanks to a tough schedule as usual. They’ve already picked up wins over Brandon, Clinton and Warren Central this season and were within seven points of the state’s top 6A team in Pearl earlier in the year when they lost 14-7.

However, Hart said that the Jackets will be the stiffest competition he’s faced this season. Having battled with Jones when Kemper County and Franklin County met three years ago, he’s impressed with the job that the first-year SHS coach has done.

“I think we’re prepared,” Hart said. “Starkville is the best team we’ve played this year no doubt about it. They’re very talented. I’ve faced coach Jones before and this team is really good.”