Coverage Breakdown: Tupelo @ Columbus
Players to Watch
Tupelo Golden Wave
Jaquerrious Williams, Running Back
The sophomore has been an anchor the the Tupelo offense this season. Through five games he is averaging 7.4 yards per carry and 98.6 yards per game. He has totaled 493 yards on 67 carries, with two 100-yard games and three touchdowns. The track he is on this season is the same as Hill as a sophomore. He is set to become a household name down the stretch.
Austin Watkins, Receiver
Watkins is one of a few playmakers for the Wave in the receiver corps, but he brings experience and veteran savvy. He seemed to get better as the season went on last fall. Look for him to do the same as big time division match-ups are coming up, starting with the Falcons this Friday.
Jett Johnson, Linebacker
It is clear once you see the Wave defense in person that, even among a group of studs, Johnson is alpha. He always seems to be where the ball ends up on each and every play. Whether than means being in the right place in coverage to pick off a pass, getting to the quarterback on a blitz or just making tackles in the running game, you can alway count on him.
Peter Gray, Linebacker
Gray is a new addition to Trent Hammond’s defense in 2016 and so far he has proved to be a playmaker. Like Johnson, he also has an interception this season. He leads the team with three sacks to go with his 26 tackles. Those numbers come despite battling an injury already this season.
Tay Standifer, Defensive Back
The leader of the defensive backfield for Tupelo is Standifer. Though he’s only a sophomore he already has a wealth of experience. So far in 2016 he has tallied 26 tackles after totaling 91 as a freshman in 2015.
Kylin Hill, Running Back
Even on a field full of talented football players, Kylin Hill is in his own category in this game. His ability to run the football and be a playmaker using his hands now makes him an even more dangerous player for the Falcons. He could be a guy that puts a good Columbus bunch on his back and carries them through region 1-6A. This season he has 518 yards and six scores on the ground along with four catches for 114 yards and an additional touchdown.
CJ Gholar, Quarterback
Coming into this season Gholar had already proven his abilities as a dual-threat at the quarterback position. In his senior season it is about honing in those two areas to be able to guide the Falcon offense to their potential, a ring. He’s been much more than effective with 787 passing yards with six passing scores to just one interception. On the ground he’s added another 247 yards and two touchdowns. With so many talented playmakers around him at the skill spots, Gholar could be a guy who cracks this Tupelo defense.
Derrick Beckom, Defensive Back
Though Tupelo loves to run the ball, sure, but the pass will give them balance and they need that. Beckom is a guy who can make an impact against that happening. He could make a big play in the air if the Wave go that route, but he will also be effective against an run game that is almost as good as the one his own team boast’s.
Patrick Jackson, Athlete
Jackson has been a breakout playmaker for Montgomery and the Falcons this season. Just last week in Columbus’s 59-13 win over Desoto Central he reached 100 yards rushing for the first time this season and scored twice, including a run of 78 yards. He also scored twice on the ground earlier this season against New Hope. He also caught a score against New Hope. His first touchdown reception this season came against Kemper County in week one, a team that features a stout secondary.
Tahj Sykes, Defensive End
Tahj, Sykes, a Southern Miss commitment, must be force on the defensive front for the Falcons on Friday night. Creating disruption at the point of attack would be the first step in stopping an imposing rushing attack from Tupelo. On passing plays he is sure to make a few appearances in the offensive backfield, as well.
Keys to the Game
Which defense is going to make more plays? The Golden Wave most certainly have a deeper unit, but the Falcons have some star power with Beckom, Sykes and even Devon King.
Which rushing attack will control and decide the outcome of the game? Kylin Hill and CJ Gholar for Columbus or J-Rock Williams and Stephon McGlaun for Tupelo? It likely comes down to which unit converts more on third down and holds the ball longer.
Which star tailback shines brightest? 4-star Mississippi State commit Kylin Hill for the Falcons or sophomore sensation Jaquerrious Williams for the Wave.
Ray Sandroni, QB, Tupelo
Sandroni has attempted 12 more passes than sophomore starter McGlaun this season. He could come in and make a big throw at some point in this game that could swing it in the Golden Wave’s favor.