• John Macon Gillespie

Coverage Breakdown: Northwest Rankin @ Starkville

Players To Watch

Northwest Ranking Cougars

Jamari Jones | QB

Last Friday in a big win over top-5 foe Warren Central Jones came up big with 291 yards and four scores through the air. The junior could be the linking pin to combining a dangerous passing attack with a powerful ground game. The Cougars are loaded with solid receiving threats.

Cam Carroll | RB

Carroll is one of the most impressive workhorses across the entire state. NWR has faced a tough schedule, against teams that knew he was going to get it a lot, and he has produced in a big way. He’s already amassed over 200 yards in two games, along with rushing for 100 yards or more in four of five games. Last week he rushed for just 48 yards, but instead caught six passes for 88 yards and a score. He is a sure bet to do his part to get Ws.

Dee Baker | RB

The junior has emerged as an explosive complementary back to Carroll. Baker has rushed for 134 and 123 against Brandon and Warren Central, respectively in the previous two weeks. Both of those rushing totals came with less than 10 carries, as his 13.5 yards per carry average speak of his elusiveness. He’s combined to score three of his four touchdowns in the last two games. He’s also proven to be a reliable receiving option with five catches for 51 yards and a score.

Jarrian Jones | ATH

Jones is one of the state’s best two way players, as he leads the Cougars with 12 catches for 381 yards and two scores through their air. That’s nearly 30 yards per catch, which is something opposing receivers have little chance of doing when he’s line up across from them. He is sure to make an impact on all three aspects of the game tonight.

Monte Williams | DL

The secondary gets most of the attention on this defense, but Williams has been a monster up front, mostly haunting opponents’ backfields. He racked up double-digit tackles, plus 1.5 sacks against Pearl three weeks ago. Two weeks ago against Brandon he registered another pair of sacks. On top of those 3.5 sacks, are nine quarterback hurries and 10 tackles for loss.

Starkville Yellowjackets

Malik Brown | QB

Last season I spoke with Malik Brown and he told me his favorite player was Lamar Jackson, and that he felt that’s who his skillset mirrored most on the football field. In Chris Jones’s offense this season, Brown has shown many of the same skills Jackson uses to dominate on the college level. Brown is the team’s second-leading rusher with 339 yards to go with his over 600 passing yards and his 11 total touchdowns.

Rodrigues Clark | RB

The Jackets average 194 yards per game, and Clark is the central element of the rushing attack. When he’s been on the field this season, the rush has been better for Starkville. He is also a great contrast to Brown’s style, because he has the power element to complement his speed and balance. He averages over 105 yards per contest.

Jalil Clemons | DL

Up front the Starkville defense is really disruptive. Sure, the Jackets are really talented at linebacker and in the secondary, but those guys are able to make ridiculous, game-changing plays due to the d-line making opposing offenses backfields chaos. That starts with Clemons, who has long arms, a long frame and tons of strength, athleticism and quickness.

Zach Edwards | LB

The player that catches your eye first, and stands out the most, is Zach Edwards. He has the frame of a long, dangerous pass rusher off the edge, but he also shows the athleticism and IQ for the game to make plays in coverage. He can make the big hit, pick off passes and take it to them house or even make the drive-killing sacks on third down. He is going to play this game for a long time, and he will make an impact in this one.

Natrone Brooks | DB

The Starkville secondary isn’t flashy, and they don’t have to talk too much. They just stick to their guy in coverage, and go get the ball when opponents make mistakes. Brooks sets the tone for the group. He make spectacular plays when they present themselves, but on every play you can find him sticking to his receiver and doing his job.

Keys To The Game

The dual of dominant rushing attacks will be a storyline to follow in this one. Though both rushing attacks are built around multiple options, the battle between Dreke Clark and Cam Carroll will be the key. Whichever one of those two that can make more plays will likely be on the winning side.

Both of these teams have been tested multiple times coming into this one, and that could be key in both teams being able to bring their A game under the bright lights.

The line of scrimmage always plays a big factor in any game, but especially in a game where running the ball is the strength of both teams. Starkville’s OL is the best of the four units(both OLs & DLs), due to talent and experience. Kameron Jones and the Jackets offensive road graders could hold the key in this matchup.


Natrone Brooks. Don’t be surprised to see Brooks make a game-changing play in this one. His athleticism shines bright on defense, and also on special teams, but he insists he can make plays on the offensive side to. Perhaps he will this week.

#NorthwestRankin #Starkville #JohnLukeMcCord

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