• John Macon Gillespie

GoW: Through The Air

With so much emphasis, and deservedly so, on the running game, don’t be surprised to see the battle through the air have a major impact when Tupelo travels to face Columbus Friday night.

The Falcons have found success through the air and created enough balance to keep defenses honest. Columbus averages 157.4 yards per game through the air. It has has come from the right arm of CJ Gholar, a senior, who also has the ability to run.

For Tupelo, the numbers don’t show how dangerous they can be in the passing game. Though they average just 59 passing yards per game, the Golden Wave feature many playmakers at the receiver position and more than one proven passer in Stephon McGlaun and Ray Sandroni. While Trent Hammond’s group has been good enough on defense and on the ground to win games so far this season, the passing game can help them win some down the stretch when the time comes.

Gholar has thrown for 787 yards and six touchdowns this season, with just one interception. On the flip side, he is completing just 46% percent of his passes. Sure he would like to get that up, but so far so good for the senior signal caller. He has created balance for the Falcon offense and really allowed as well as helped the running game take off. I expect he will only elevate his game as the big time division match-ups lie ahead.

Two guys have combined to get the job done for the Tupelo Golden Wave this season. Most of the snaps have gone to the sophomore, McGlaun, but the senior, Sandroni, has attempted more passes. McGlaun is 13 /18 for 85 yards and a touchdown, while Sandroni is 18/30 for 210 yards and one interception. The Wave have just one passing score on the season, a large contrast from their 15 on the ground.

While the numbers don’t favor Tupelo in this area, there is likely to be more pressure on the Columbus passing game on Fridaynight. The reason being, a dominant Golden Wave defense that stifles and baffles opponents. Kylin Hill, Kendre Conner and company can really run the ball, but without an effective attack through the air, the Falcon offensive will stall.

On the other hand, the Wave have risen to number two in the overall SES Mississippi state rankings on the back of a good running game and dominant defense. They have been effective enough through the air to keep it rolling. They have the receivers and options at quarterback to be better when they need to be. The only question is when will we see a team force them to go through the air more? Maybe the Falcons can get a lead and do so on Friday night.

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