STARKVILLE — Kris Pickle didn’t get to see everything he wanted in a two-quarter exhibition game.
But the New Hope High School football coach saw a few promising things in a 29-8 victory against Morton High on Friday night in the New Hope Fall Jamboree at Davis Wade Stadium that give him hope.
“Offensively, I saw some guys that stepped up and make some plays I thought could make some plays,” Pickle said. “That was encouraging. Defensively, we found out some guys are going to be physical whenever guys are running right at them.”
Tony Deloach and Tyran Reed had rushing touchdowns. Deloach scored from 50 yards, while Reed had a 3-yard score. Quarterback Thomas Stevens found Andre Erby for a 60-yard touchdown and Aaron Brooks for a 40-yard touchdown.
Pickle wasn’t happy with the slow offensive start, but he was happy to see the offense pick it up down the stretch.
The third-year Trojan coach was encouraged by his defense’s attacking mentality.
“I thought defensively we were under the football,” Pickle said. “That’s one thing they’ve been stressing the whole time is getting to the football and running to the football.”
New Hope will play host to Louisville 7 p.m. on Friday in the season opener for both teams.
n Columbus 14, Meridian 0: The Falcons overcame a sluggish start and struck for two touchdowns in the second quarter.
Patrick Jackson scored a 12-yard touchdown after a 50-yard run by Mississippi State commit Kylin Hill. Quarterback C.J. Gholar found Micheal McCloud for an 11-yard touchdown as time expired.
“We did try some things out there that I don’t know if necessarily we would have tried them in a regular season game,” Columbus coach Randal Montgomery said. “It was so hard for us to really just find a rhythm. We would have one good play and then one bad play.”
Braylen Edinburgh intercepted a pass to set up the final touchdown.
The Falcons’ defense forced three turnovers on downs in the first three series. Meridian looked to score early after a kickoff return set it up with good field position at the Columbus 11-yard line, but the Falcons buckled down.
“The main thing I’m happy about is our defense did a good job of keeping us in the ballgame until we got a little rhythm going,” Montgomery said.
Columbus will play at 7 p.m. Friday at Kemper County.
n West Point 21, Callaway 7: The Green Wave received good play from quarterbacks Clayton Knight and Marcus Murphy.
Knight, who transferred from Saltillo High, hit Jason Brownlee for a 12-yard touchdown early in the first quarter to make it 7-0. Junior Murphy, who committed to MSU in the summer, broke a 7-7 tie with a 10-yard touchdown on fourth-and-1 one series later.
“I think Marcus and Clayton complemented each other real well,” West Point coach Chris Chambless said. “It’s nice not to miss a beat when you’ve got two guys who get on the field and can do different things.”
Chris Calvert capped West Point’s scoring with a 1-yard touchdown late in the second.
“We’ve got a lot of things to clean up,” Chambless said. “This is why you play these games for, clean some stuff up, see on film things you need to improve on.”
West Point will play host to Louisville at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 26.
n Noxubee County 29, Morton 8: After a slow offensive start, the Tigers scored twice in the second to pull away.
Quarterback Maliek Stallings found Jakerrius Oliver and Kyziah Pruitt for touchdowns.
“Our young quarterback, he got rolling in the second quarter and made some plays,” Noxubee County coach Tyrone Shorter said. “I just feel like we’ve got to correct some things offensively and start faster.”
Grenada pulled within 7-6 thanks to a touchdown in the second.
In the first, the Tigers took a 7-0 lead when Jataquist Sherrod returned an interception for a touchdown.
“I thought defensively we played a decent ballgame,” Shorter said. “I thought we missed too many tackles out of our linebacker position.”
The two-time reigning Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) Class 4A state champions will play reigning Class 6A state champion Starkville at 7 p.m. Friday in Starkville.
Follow Dispatch sports writer Ben Wait on Twitter @bcwait
Ben Wait reports on Mississippi State University sports for The Dispatch.