• John Macon Gillespie

GoW: The Ground Game

When Tupelo and Columbus meet this Friday in a region 1-6A rivalry matchup, the ground game is likely where the result will be decided. There are stars on each side of the ball. While Falcon star Kylin Hill is a 4-star Mississippi State commit, Golden Wave sophomore Jaquerrious Williams is making similar moves to Hill when he was a youngster.

In 2016 Hill has totaled 518 yards and six scores on the ground, to go with an 8.9 yard per carry average and two 100-yard games. Meanwhile, Williams has 452 rushing yards and three scores, on 7.8 yards per carry and 113 yards per game. All in all, the Falcons have rushed for 15 scores and average 291.4 yards per game game, with five different ball carriers having scored. The Golden Wave counter that with 15 scores and 199.8 yards per game on the ground, and have had six different players rush for a touchdown.

Though Williams has been the bell cow and a breakout star, it hasn’t been a one-man show for the Golden Wave. Quarterback and fellow sophomore Stephon McGlaun leads the team with five rushing scores, and he averages 62.3 rushing yards per game. LaBryant Siddell is the perfect compliment to Williams’s homerun-hitting ability, as he is a bruiser. His 197 yards and two scores have come on just 22 carries this season. All-around playmaker Donte Freeman has added three rushing scores on seven carries.

A rushing trio that made Randal Montgomery’s Falcons dangerous in 2015 is back at it in 2015. Similar to the Golden Wave, Columbus has a rushing threat at quarterback. However, he is just one of three ball carries with at least 200 yards and four with 100-plus.

Kendre Conner averages 91.8 yards per game on the ground and has scored twice this season, with two 100-yard games and 367 total yards. Signal caller Gholar has added 247 yards on 5.3 yards per carry, one 100-yard game and two scores. Junior Patrick Jackson has also been effective to the tune of 184 yards on 7.4 yards per game with four touchdowns.

So while Columbus’ trio has begun to turn into more of a quartet, the offense is getting even more dangerous because Jackson and Hill can make plays outside of the backfield, too. However, Trent Hammon and the Golden Wave have a host of playmakers in the backfield, as well. This game will not only be decided in the offensive backfield, there will be fireworks coming from back there all game. Whoever’s group is best, will win this game and gain a major leg up in region 1-6A.

**Tupelo photo by Markietha Swinney.

**Columbus photo by Ivan Evans Jr.

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