Coverage Breakdown: Horn Lake @ Starkville
Players To Watch
Horn Lake Eagles
Raydarious Jones | QB
At full health, Jones is usually the fastest player on the field. However, since the fifth game of the season he’s been banged up. Last week he helped Horn Lake get a first-round home win over Northwest ranking by rushing for 151 yards and two scores in a 20-7 win over Northwest Rankin. For the season he has rushed for 837 yards and 12 scores, both second on the team. He’s thrown for another 891 yards and four touchdowns.
Tyler Grim | RB
The senior tailback has been a monster on the ground for a second straight season. Grim toted the rock 239 times for 1,531 yards and 19 touchdowns this season, after carrying it 267 times for 1,517 yards and 20 scores as a junior. He’s been one of the most consistent backs in the state the last two seasons, and now its paying off as Horn Lake is the only region one team still alive in the second round of the 6A playoffs.
Omar Pew | DL
All four 6A teams that remain are known for stout defense, and Horn Lake’s doesn’t get enough credit. Omar Pew sets the tone for the Eagles along the defensive front. For the season he’s registered 40 tackles, with 19 coming behind the line of scrimmage and 11 of them being sacks.
Nakobe Dean | LB
Dean is already known as one of the best linebackers in the entire state, and he’s backed that up with 129 tackles, 25 tackles for loss and nine sacks so far this season. He possess impressive size and speed, as he always makes eye-catching plays. It’s hard to miss him because he plays sideline to sideline, as well as getting in the backfield.
Tony Washington | DB
Washington is a versatile playmaker, who’s impact is felt in multiple ways all over the field for the Eagles. He’s registered 51 tackles from his safety position, but he also leads the team with five interceptions. He is also a primary returner having tallied 131 yards between punt and kick returns this season.
Malik Brown | QB
Chris Jones brought a dynamic offensive attack with him to Starkville in his first season. It couldn’t have worked quite as well, however, without Malik Brown. The junior signal caller has been magnificent at times this season. He’s thrown for 1,580 yards and 21 touchdowns, along with nearly 500 rushing yards and another four scores. His dual-threat ability will help against a stout defense this Friday.
Rodrigues Clark | RB Eight times in 11 games this season Clark has gone for 100 yards or more. All in all he’s rushed for 1,231 yards and 13 touchdowns, even after battling injuries earlier this season. He strength allows him to not only fight through tackles, but also to wear defenses down as the game goes on. He’s emerged in a big way this season in a new offense because of his ability to excel in traffic and in space.
Cameron Hines | WR
Hines has come a long way in football, having started late in his high school career. This season the senior his 59 receptions, 709 receiving yards and 10 receiving touchdowns, all lead the Yellowjackets. He’s not the biggest or the fastest, but that doesn’t stop him from running solid routes, make deep catches and being a threat in the redzone.
Zach Edwards | LB
The void of Willie Gay graduating was made much lighter by the emergence of Edwards. He is hard to deal with because of his ability to play sideline to sideline, as well as his ability to rush the passer. It would appear he is following in Gay’s foot steps as an Elite 10 member next summer. This season he’s accumulated 89 tackles, 27 for loss, seven sacks, eight pass deflections, two forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries.
Jacob Williams | LB
The Horn Lake rushing attack will be stout, but this Starkville defense is geared towards stopping it due to strong linebacker play. Williams has been steady at that spot all season with 105 tackles, 15 tackles for loss and an interception. Williams will need to have a big game, but that’s been the norm for him this season as he averages 8.8 tackles per game and has registered double digit tackles in four games.
Keys To The Game
Starkville has scored just 27 points in their previous three games, including only six last week in a playoff win. Horn Lake has allowed 8 points or less in five games this season, including just seven points last week and six the week prior.
Starkville is 6-0 at home this season. Horn Lake is 5-0 in road games this season.
Down the stretch this season, both of these teams have established themselves as grind-it-out teams. They both play steady defense and want to run the ball in a dominant fashion on offense.
Home field advantage + Passing game. Though going on the road hasn’t been a problem for Horn Lake this season, Starkville is awfully good at home. In a close game, I’ll go with the home team here. Both running attacks are even, but Starkville can throw it a little better. I expect a big throw from Brown to Hines or Cam Gardner to be the slight difference in this one.