• John Macon Gillespie

GotW | W4: Thunder & Destruction

Two of the better defensive units in the state will duel on Friday night. Tupelo has allowed just seven points in the previous two weeks, and Brandon is yet to surrender more than 10 points in a game this season. Getting any sort of rhythm or confidence going on offense will be a challenge for both of these offenses.

Tupelo Golden Wave

Much of the talk surrounding Trent Hammond’s impressive defensive unit has been about the “Golden Three.” Thank includes senior linebacker Jett Johnson and Peter Gray, as well as junior safety Tay Standifer. All three are immensely talented, and have provided valued leadership this season.

But the conversation doesn’t end with them. The Wave got a big pick six from from senior safety Clay Cox last week. As well, Keaton Cager has been a force thus far at linebacker in his first season as a starter. And the defensive line is growing, as well, led thus far by Janson Nabors.

Already having been tested through the air this season, by Meridian in the opener, expect the Wave to be much better against the pass as the season goes on and as their corners grow more comfortable on the edges.

Brandon Bulldogs

Defense sure has provided a strong foundation for the Dogs three games into the season. In week one they allowed just 10 points to Madison Central and have only given up 12 points in the last two week combined.

It starts with Jalan Herbert. He has registered double-digits tackles in each game this season due to his versatility. The senior excels against the run, the pass and even as a pass rusher. His aggression and passion fuels the highlight plays he is able to make all over the field.

In the secondary Brandon is led by TJ Ficklin, who played safety in 2016. This season, though, he is locking things down at corner. His frame is long and he is athletic for days. Those skills have made him dominant so far for a defense that has greatly benefitted from him shutting down one side of the field.

Up front the Dogs are smaller than they have been in years past, but their quickness makes them disruptive.

Big Hit

Defensively speaking, there might not be a better matchup anywhere all season. These defenses can stifle you at the line, turn you over and frustrate you beyond measure. The unit that does that best on Friday night will score a big win and tons of momentum.

**Photo courtesy of Markietha Swinney

#Tupelo #Brandon #JohnLukeMcCord

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