• John Macon Gillespie

Coverage Recap: Tupelo Remains King of Lee County

Lee County’s best rivalry has come and gone for the 2016 season, but it was fun as usual. Also per the usual, it brought the best out of the Tupelo Golden Wave. They topped their crosstown rivals the Shannon Red Raiders by a score of 42-10.

It wasn’t a high-scoring affair in the first half. However, the Wave got rolling in the second half and never looked back. The Red Raider offense was never able to establish any rhythm or traction against the stout Tupelo defense.

This is the second straight week for Tupelo to score in the 40s. That being said, the offense doesn’t have the look of a high-powered, scoring offense. They like to pound it and hand it to their sophomore tailback J-Rock Williams. However, with so many playmakers on that side of the ball, when the offensive line does their job, the ball is able to find the playmakers.

Donte Freeman has emerged as one of the most effective playmakers, mostly due to his ability as a pass catcher and a ball carrier. Then there’s the backs, Williams and LaBryant Siddell. Siddell rushed for two scores last night, both in th second half.

Meanwhile the Wave have found their man at quarterback. Sophomore Stephon McGlaun rushed for two scores last night, as well, including one from 53 yards out.

Defensively, though, is where Tupelo is just flat dominant. They stymied a Red Raider offense that scored 36 and 35 in the first two weeks of the season. They gave up just 13 total points in the first seven quarters they played this season.

Peter Gray was absent from the defense last night, but a stout defensive line and a Jett Johnson interception made for an impressive night at the office. The Wave defense has surrendered just five touchdowns defensively this season and have outscored opponents 106-37.

Though it was a game Coach Darryl Carter and his team will want to move past quickly, the Raiders still look like a team to be reckoned with in 4A. Getting reps against a defense like they faced last night will better prepare them to go one this season and keep winning.

Quarterback Jordan Gilleylen plus offensive playmakers Kegan Huddleston and Thailon Whitfield are a good trio of youngsters to build around this season. Defensively the Raiders are solid, as well. Though they gave up 42 last night, it was more a product of being on the field too much. Vincent McIntosh, Bobby Vines and others will lead a solid Raider defense going forward this season.

Looking ahead for the Wave, they also appear to be ready to compete for their division crown, as well. Their offense is obviously capable, but their defense is state championship quality. And with Trent Hammond calling the shots for the talented defensive unit, opponents should make sure to keep a watchful eye on the Wave this season.

This rivalry matchup continues to bring the best out of the Wave. They are now 8-0 in this series since 2003, having outscored Raiders 285-72 in that time.

Tupelo narrowly missed the SES Top 10 this week, but they have a chance to firmly plant themselves inside of it with a win this coming Friday. The Wave will host the number 3 team in the state in Brandon in the Flood Zone.

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