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  • John Macon Gillespie

Coverage Recap: #2 Tupelo 43 Columbus 27



Despite having already beaten SES Mississippi’s preseason number one team, Brandon, last night was probably Tupelo’s most impressive win of the season. Mainly because it turned out to be the biggest test the defense has faced, but the offense showed they have another gear. Kylin Hill scored four times, but Trent Hammond’s offense would score 43 points. The Falcons rested on Hill’s four touchdowns.

The offensive charge for the Golden Wave was led by sophomore signal caller Stephon McGlaun. Three times he connected with receivers on long scoring throws. First to Austin Watkins, then to Jordan Jernigan and finally to Donte Freeman. It was a coming out night for the Wave receivers, a talented but underutilized bunch.

“I’ve been begging to throw, but we just run it on every down. They finally let me run because my ankle is a little banged up,” McGlaun, the Player of the Game, told SES Mississippi afterwards.

While it was a bit of a quiet night for Jaquerrious Williams, he did get going in the second half. Especially when his number was called to help melt precious time off the clock. However, his backfield buddy LaBryant Siddell found paydirt twice in this one, once in the first half and one to seal the deal at the end.

Defensively there were plenty of standouts for the Wave, but perhaps none bigger than what the defensive line was able to accomplish. Most of the production for Hill came on a handful of long runs. However, down-to-down even the four-star Mississippi State commitment struggled to find yards. Meanwhile, quarterback CJ Gholar had a live arm and was very accurate. When he had time to throw the ball, that is. The Wave defensive line, led by McKenzie Richardson, Kerry McKenzie and Trey Rogers, imposed their will all night.

Hill, was very close to earning MVP honors himself, if he could helped his Falcons finish off the remarkable comeback. At one point Columbus found themselves down 29-7, before getting it to 36-27 and missing a two-point try.

Tupelo advances to 6-0, with a 2-0 start in division play. That means wins over Hernando and now the Falcons to start division play. That’s very impressive, but a road trip to Southaven looms. For Columbus the loss drops them to 3-3, with a 1-1 start in region play. Next week Hill and the Falcons will travel to face Horn Lake.

Final thoughts:

Tupelo’s defensive line is complimented well by their talented group of linebackers. Diesel Howell is so good in the box, Jett Johnson is all over the field making plays and Peter Gray is a exceptional pass rusher.

In 2013, Tupelo lost to Oak Grove in the 6A title game because their secondary wasn’t good enough. Tay Standifer has changed that. He is a physically impressive player who always seems to make plays and make tackles. Chris Shannon and the rest of secondary are pretty good, too.

Kylin Hill is an absolute stud. His will in the second half was just so impressive. The Wave defenders were still getting to him in the backfield but he would tear through three and sometimes four defenders to get yardage. Then he started popping the long runs. He really is a joy to watch and he will be a star in Starkville.

Kendre Conner and CJ Gholar are more than enough to pair with Hill and the solid Columbus defense for the Falcons to get back in this division race. In fact, their style of play will only make them better as the weather turns cold.

Tupelo is still a dominant rushing team. McGlaun had a nice run at the beginning of the game and JRock started rolling the second half. But it is clear that all parts must be moving for each to be effective. Meaning that McGlaun, Williams and Siddell have to count on each other.

The passing attack, however, has woken up for Tupelo. Or actually, we could see it again in a few weeks. Who knows? Trent Hammond likes to take advantage of match-ups. So we’ll see it again when he feels its an advantage. It was nice to see such a talented group of receivers get in rhythm with McGlaun, though. Jordan Jernigan, Donte Freeman, Austin Watkins and Sirmarcus Evans combine to make one nasty group of pass catchers. Freeman and Evans can carry it, as well.


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