MHSAA Class 2A Preview

Taylorsville quarterback Ty Keyes. Photo by Keith Warren/MHSAA.

For new Taylorsville head coach Mitch Evans, it’s about getting the destiny back.

Evans, who was the offensive coordinator last year for the Tartars and is a Taylorsville alum, takes over after Chuck Robertson unexpectedly resigned back in April.

“It has been a rushing process, but I’m excited to be back in Taylorsville and coach these young men,” Evans said. “We’re learning on the fly, but we’re young and got the potential to be really good.”

Taylorsville is coming off a 15-1 season and clinched the Class 2A state championship the one bright side is the return highly talented sophomore quarterback Ty Keyes.

Last year as a freshmen Keyes tossed for 4,562 yards with 45 touchdowns to help lead a potent offense that averaged 36.8 points per game last year.

But this year things will be a different with three of the top receivers gone and having to replace three offensive linemen.

“Ty could trust guys last year, but it’ll be different,” Evans said. “But the thing is he wants to get better every day and has started to become a vocal leader and is doing what a leader is supposed to do.”

C.J. Williams and Tariq McCoy will anchor the running game, while Letreal Jones will be the top receiver returning for Taylorsville.

Defensively the Tartars return seven and will be led by the secondary and linebackers.

Linebackers Keyshawn Keyes and Branson Sharpley return to anchor the front seven, while Raven Arrington and Broderick Magee will lead the secondary.

“I feel really good about the defensive side of the ball because we got a lot of veteran guys back,” Evans said. “I feel like 2A South is going to be rough with Bay Springs and Collins returning a good bit.”

 

NEXT IN LINE

 

Collins: In the Tigers first year in 2A they reached the Class 2A South State Championship game and with 15 starters their expected to go further in 2018. Hershey McLaurin returns at quarterback to lead the offense after throwing for 3,325 yards with 42 touchdowns and also also rushed for 352 yards with six touchdowns last season and has a lot his weapons back to spread the ball around too. Antonio Spencer returns at running back to lead the rushing attack, but three of the four top receivers are back to lead the potent passing game in Markel McLaurin, Zyrion Thompson and Dedaviyon Magee. Defensively, Collins has eight starters back that’ll be led by the front seven including linebackers A.J. Barnes and Spencer. Cyril Graves and McLaurin will anchor the secondary.

 

Philadelphia: The Tornadoes went through a coaching change in the offseason with Teddy Dyess leaving after 11 years to head to Magee and hired legendary Bobby Hall who resigned in February from Biloxi. Philadelphia will have Asher Morgan, a Jackson Academy transfer, take over duties at quarterback and will have plenty of playmakers to get the ball to in wide receivers Lideatrick Griffin and Ahyunte Crosby along with running back Deiondre Fox. Concern will be the inexperience on the offensive line. Defensively the Tornadoes will lean heavily on the linebackers with Kendrick Day (76 tackles, 7 sacks in 2017) and Jaylon Horne (53 tackles) returning and will rely on overall team speed.

 

Bay Springs: Bulldogs are coming an 8-6 season and reached the third round of the Class 2A playoffs and with 19 starters returning Bay Springs has a chance to make a deep playoff run. Offensively the Bulldogs brings back nine starters and every offensive player that recorded a touchdown. Adrian Cole returns at quarterback after tossing for 826 yards with eight touchdowns. Anson Windham and Jamarrious Hosey return at running back after both rushed for over 1,000 yards last year. Defensively, Bay Springs bring back 10 starters that’ll be led by linebackers Dominick Myers, Jaccorio Ducksworth and Fred Barnes in the front seven. Derrion Lee and Cole will anchor the secondary.

 

Calhoun City: Never count out the tradition rich Wildcats, who have some big holes to feel. Calhoun City only brings back four starters and must replace Jojo Gray at quarterback and Keshun Parker at running back. Chardarius Hill will be the new signal caller for the Wildcats, while Anfernee Campbell, Red Balford and Davione Hull will anchor the run heavy offense. Defense is where the Wildcats will lean heavily on with eight starters back. Defensive lineman Jalen Armstrong returns to anchor the front seven along with Campbell and Hull at linebacker. Jordan Horton will lead the secondary.

 

Scott Central: After spending the last six years at Clinton, Devin Cooper takes over the reins at Scott Central in what will be his first head coaching job. Offensively the Rebels must replace T.J. Wash at quarterback and the battle for the quarterback will be between Jackie Donald and Treyon Wash. Defensively the Rebels will be stout especially in the front seven. Linebackers Vontae McDonald (126 tackles, 12 sacks in 2017) and Navonteque Strong (146 tackles. 8 sacks last year) return to anchor the front seven along with defensive end Jabrelyan Vivians.

 

South Delta: Bulldogs are coming off an 10-3 season that included a Region 3-2A championship and a trip to the second round of the playoffs. Quarterback Jacobeyon Lane returns after throwing for 2,596 yards with 24 touchdowns and also rushed for 1,001 yards with 12 touchdowns to lead the offense. South Delta must replace running back and top two receivers. Linebackers Terrell Webster (114 tackles in 2017) and Christopher Battee (113 tackles, 6 sacks last year) will anchor the defense.

 

Eupora: The Eagles are eager to build off a 7-4 season in 2017 and a trip to the Class 2A playoffs. Eupora must replace Tanner Knight at quarterback and its best overall player from last year in Alex Dumas. Edwin Herard will be the new quarterback after playing running back last year. Preston Perkins will anchor the rushing attack, while Camron Culpepper and Jalan Potts will be the top wide receivers. Defense is where the Eagles return the most with seven starters led by Donovan Turner, Potts, Perkins and Culpepper.

 

SLEEPER

 

Lake: The Hornets were bit by the injury bug late in the season last year and ended the year 8-3 and reached the first round of the Class 2A playoffs. Mickey Parker will be back at quarterback after throwing for 570 yards with six touchdowns, while Ethan Gray returns to lead the potent rushing attack after rushing for 680 yards with seven touchdowns. Linebackers Seth Prestage and Aaron Campbell return to anchor the defense.

 

CLASS RANKINGS 

  1. Taylorsville
  2. Collins
  3. Philadelphia
  4. Bay Springs
  5. Calhoun City
  6. Scott Central
  7. South Delta
  8. Eupora
  9. Lake
  10. West Bolivar

 

GAMES TO WATCH

 

Aug. 24: Bay Springs at Philadelphia

Sept. 14: South Delta at O’Bannon

Sept. 28: Bay Springs at Taylorsville

Oct. 5: Collins at North Forrest

Oct. 5: South Delta at West Bolivar

Oct. 26: Calhoun City at Eupora

Oct. 26: Scott Central at Philadelphia