• John Macon Gillespie

GotW | W4: The Breakdown

Players to Watch

Tupelo Golden Wave

Stephon McGlaun | QB

After a bright sophomore season, McGlaun has been even more impressive to start 2017. Through three games the junior has thrown for 387 yards and rushed for 254, with seven total touchdowns. His size and balance makes him a dangerous runner, and his strong arm allows him to make all the throws.

Jaquerrious Williams | RB

Though Williams left the game last week, it appears he will play on Friday. He is a game-changer on the field. On 34 carries he’s already amassed 323 yards and five scores. That puts him at 107.7 yards per game and 9.5 yards per carry, which look even more impressive in person.

Jordan Jernigan | WR

When McGlaun likes to air it out downfield, it’s usually Jernigan who runs under it. He posses next-level size, speed and athleticism. However, he is also a ferocious and dependable blocker. He is the kind of player coaches like coach and teammates can depend on.

Jett Johnson | LB

Once again this season Johnson is filling up the stat sheet. His 28 total tackles, sack and interception aren’t nearly as important as his leadership, though. He’s been the anchor of Tupelo’s defense for going on three seasons now. There are few players more talented or experienced across the state.

Peter Gray | LB

Last season Gray was fantastic in his first season at Tupelo. His size and skill as a pass rusher made him a monster in Trent Hammond’s defense. However, this season the senior linebacker has reached a new level. Last week he batted a pass, secured the interception and returned it 75 yards for a score. He’s also seen time at tight end this season, with a seven-yard reception already under his belt.

Tay Standifer | DB

Now in his third year leading the defensive backfield, Standifer is playing lights out. His size and length, combined with his linebacker-type strength, make him a standout in pass coverage and as a tackler against the run.

Janson Nabors | DL

The senior is emerging as this season’s breakout player for Tupelo on the defensive line. Nabors leads the Wave in sacks and quarterback hurries, with two and 10, respectively. He’s also tallied five tackles for loss and 12 total tackles.

Brandon Bulldogs

Will Rogers | QB

When you consider that the sophomore is connecting on 66% of his passes through three games, it’s easy to be impressed. But his efficient three-game stretch was highlighted by 19 completions on 24 attempts. So it’s easy to track his improvement, as well. He posses poise and maturity beyond his years, making him likely the next big start at quarterback for the Bulldogs.

Bo Whatley | WR

Though not the most athletic or biggest target in the Brandon passing game, Whatley has been the most productive receiver fort the Dogs over the last two seasons. His 11 receptions and 137 yards leads the team three games in. Whatley has provided security and comfort for his sophomore signal caller.

Javarius Spann | ATH

Brandon is averaging just over 95 yards per game on the ground this season, and Spann leads that charge with his 57.7 yards per game average. Perhaps even more notable are his two rushing scores - a team best - and 6.4 yards per carry. He also is active on the defensive side of the ball from his linebacker spot.

Jonathan Mingo | ATH

On a team loaded with talented players, Mingo could well be the player with the greatest potential. Not only does his already college-ready frame help him as a receiver on the outside, but he also swaps over and helps out in the defensive backfield at times. Strength, ball skills and silky smooth athleticism allow Mingo to make plays when the ball is in the air.

Reed Tyler | ATH

Like Mingo, Tyler has a body built to play high-level college football, and currently the senior is committed to Arkansas State. His athleticism and soft hands make him a standout at tight end, but his length and aggressiveness also allow him to make plays at defensive end.

Jalan Herbert | LB

When Brandon is on the defensive, Herbert is always around the ball. A linebacker by position, the senior can affect the game by getting after the quarterback, quickly wrangling ball-carriers and making plays in the passing game. His impact will be felt in this crucial non-division game, as he has tallied double-digit tackles in each of the three games gone by this season.

TJ Ficklin | DB

Ficklin is the cousin of former Bulldog SchDarren Archie, and that is obvious by his long arms and tall stature. He looks like Archie, and last season he played alongside him at safety. However, this season Ficklin has made the move to corner and he’s been phenomenal in shutting down one side of the field when the Dogs face the pass.

Keys To The Game

Home field advantage is an obvious key here. Last season the Flood Zone proved to be a huge natural advantage for Tupelo in a 1-point win over Brandon. This season, in a brand spanking new stadium, expect the atmosphere to lift the Dogs a bit.

Both Tupelo’s Stephon McGlaun and Brandon’s Will Rogers are young quarterbacks that continue to show improvement. With that said, McGlaun has a full year under his belt already and his additional experience should prove huge in a low-scoring, close contest that features two great defenses.

Defensive line could play huge in this game. Brandon is small and quick at that spot, but Tupelo is also quick and they have some decent size. With both teams possessing playmakers in the back seven on defense, expect Tupelo’s advantage on the line to show.


Confidence. It may sound cliche, but this intangible gives Tupelo a bit of advantage. Sure, Brandon has to be confident coming off back-to-back wins against South Panola and Clinton, but there are still questions. For the Wave, they are 3-0, with solid wins of their own against Meridian, Corinth and Clarksdale. But they have allowed just seven points in the previous two weeks combined and have far less questions to be answered at this point in the season.

#JohnLukeMcCord #Brandon #Tupelo

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