MHSAA 2A Preview: Taylorsville Favorites, Scott Central Moves South

Photo by Chris Brooks.

Scott Central welcomes back another talented roster but several of last year’s leaders graduated including Hydee Barlow, Navonteque Strong, Vontae McDonald and Carson Williams.

So, now what?

“We lost some good ones there’s no question. We’re going to have to overcome losing the guys we leaned on a lot last year,” said Scott Central head coach Devin Cooper who guided the Rebels to the Class 2A State Championship last December in his first year as head coach of his alma mater.

“Big thing for us is learning how to win our own way.”

Scott Central has talent on both sides of the ball with seven starters back on offense and eight on defense. The Rebels will be a top contender in 2A once again.

Offensively the Rebels have quarterback Treyon Wash returning after throwing for 1,070 yards with nine touchdowns. He also rushed for 917 yards with 12 touchdowns to lead an offense that averaged 239.8 yards per game rushing and 33.4 points per game last year.

Jabrelynn Vivians is back at running back after rushing for 861 yards with 10 touchdowns. Jalen Wells, Lajavis Patrick, Elijah Robinson will also see time at running back.

“I like what we have with our skill positions and I really like the depth at running back,” Cooper said. “Our big concern is the offensive line. The quicker they can gel together, the better off we will be.”

Defensively the linebacking core is led by Wells, Patrick and Vivians. Wash and Javarious McBeath will anchor the secondary.

“We just have to overcome the guys we lost because the guys looked up to them a lot,” Cooper said. “Linebackers are going to have to carry us. We’ve got to control the line of scrimmage and we’ve put a lot of emphasis on that. They need to see some adversity in order to get better.”

Scott Central’s region didn’t change but will transition from North 2A to South 2A.

“The South in 2A is going go to be battle-tested for sure,” Cooper said. “Our division will be extremely tough with Philadelphia returning a bunch, along with Union.”

FAVORITE

Taylorsville: Taylorsville is eager to get back to the state championship game for the third year in a row. Firepower returns on an offense that averaged 33.5 points per game last year. Talented Ty Keyes is back at quarterback to lead the offense after suffering an ankle injury in the 2A South State Championship game last year. Keys passed for 3,736 yards with 39 touchdowns and rushed for 335 yards with four touchdowns. He’s one of the top junior quarterbacks in the nation. Zylon Hicks and Travis Keyes will see time at running back, while Jabez Griffith and Cedric Beavers return as the top receivers. One concern will be the offensive line with three starters gone. Defensively Taylorsville will lean heavily on the defensive line with all four starters back anchored by defensive end Hunter Lee. Beavers will lead the secondary.

NEXT IN LINE

Charleston: Already a 3A power, Charleston moves down to 2A and instantly becomes one of the favorites out of the North. Charleston returns seven starters on both offense and defense. Offensively the entire offensive line is back and quarterback Jay Brown returns to lead the run-heavy offense. They averaged 203.1 yards per game last year. Keyshun Cashaw and Kristian Gammage are the only running backs with experience returning. All other skill position players will feature new starters. The entire front seven returns to lead the Tiger defense that is breaking in an entire new secondary. Linebackers Alfernee Hankins and Jamar Taylor, along with defensive tackle Timonte Tucker, will lead the front seven.

Philadelphia: Philadelphia has high hopes in 2019 to make a deep playoff push in 2A. With 15 starters back (9 offense, 6 defense) there is plenty of reason for optimism. Samford commit Asher Morgan is back to lead the offense at quarterback after passing for 2,462 yards with 15 touchdowns last year. Also back are receivers Kadarius Calloway and Mississippi State commit Lideatrick Griffin who is coming off an ankle injury in the playoffs last season. Griffin had 768 yards receiving with two touchdowns and also had 507 yards rushing with five touchdowns. Deiondre Fox, Antauze Brown and Raedarius Triplett will see playing time at running back. Defensively, Zikileous Moore, Fox and Brown will lead the front seven at linebacker, while Griffin and Dedrick McClendon will anchor the secondary.

Collins: The tradition-rich Tigers are again good enough for a title run with the primary obstacle being Taylorsville. The Tartars have ended Collins’ season each of the last two seasons. Collins has seven starters back on both sides of the ball, so with a veteran team the Tigers can make another deep playoff run. Hershey McLaurin is back at quarterback to lead the offense after throwing for 2,477 yards with 25 touchdowns. He also rushed for 455 yards with five touchdowns. Antonio Spencer and Emmanuel Lockhart return to lead the rushing attack. Christopher Keys will be the top receiver this year after seeing limited time at the position last year. Defensively the Tigers return all linebackers led by A.J. Barnes. Keys and Quan Jones will lead the secondary.

Calhoun City: Never count out the Wildcats as the Chad White era begins as the new head coach at Calhoun City. Chardarius Hill will take over at quarterback full-time to lead the run-heavy offense after splitting time last year. Hill tossed for 347 yards with four touchdowns and rushed for 514 yards with four touchdowns. Hayden Goodson will lead help anchor the ground game that averaged 203.6 yards per game last year. Linebacker Emariun Clayton is back to lead a young front seven. Hill will anchor the secondary.

Union: The Yellowjackets bring back the nucleus of its offense to lead the run-heavy attack led by quarterback Colby Ferguson along with running backs Kenyon Clay and Jaylon Buckley. Ferguson tossed for 731 yards with 10 touchdowns and rushed for 959 yards with 10 touchdowns. Clay rushed for 831 yards with eight touchdowns, while Buckley had 621 yards with eight touchdowns. Linebackers Peyton Posey (94 tackles) and Mark Jones are back to lead the front seven on defense. Clay will lead the secondary.

SLEEPER

East Webster: East Webster is coming off a season where they reached the second round of the 2A playoffs. Steven Betts is back at quarterback to lead the offense after throwing for 1,114 yards with 12 touchdowns and also rushing for 373 yards with a touchdown. Tyrik Pittman and Gray McCarter are back at running back to anchor the rushing attack.  Conner Shurden is the leading receiver returning. Linebacker Sedrick Taylor is back to lead the defense.

Bay Springs: Bay Springs lost two 1,000 yards backs but quarterback Adrian Cole is back to lead an offense that averaged 274.7 yards last year. Cole did pass for 1,223 yards with 15 touchdowns and also rushed for three touchdowns. Linebacker Peyton Pickens and defensive back Marcus Ruffin return to lead the defense.

TOP 5

  1. Taylorsville
  2. Charleston
  3. Philadelphia
  4. Scott Central
  5. Collins

GAMES TO WATCH

Aug. 22: Taylorsville at Scott Central

Sept. 20: Taylorsville at Collins

Oct. 4: East Webster at Calhoun City

Oct. 4: Bay Springs at Taylorsville

Oct. 4: Scott Central at Philadelphia

Oct. 11: South Delta at Pelahatchie

Oct. 18: Pelahatchie at Pisgah

Oct. 18: Collins at East Marion

Oct. 18: Scott Central at Union

Nov. 1: Philadelphia at Union