MADISON — They are the defending Class 6A state champions for a reason.
And it showed Friday night.
In dominant fashion along with stout defense and the play of quarterback Vic Sutton, Madison Central raced past Starkville 41-21 in a top-10 showdown and in the Region 2-6A opener at The Jungle.
“Scoring on that first drive was key for us and seized momentum for us the whole half and we were able to keep it,” Madison Central coach Toby Collums said. “Super proud of our kids, super proud of our staff. We had a great week of practice and I thought tonight was the first night we played a complete game.”
The Jaguars scored on the first possession of the game to take a 7-0 as Jake Norris capped a nine-play 67-yard drive with a 13-yard touchdown run with 7:33 left in the first quarter.
On Starkville’s first possession of the game, Jaiden Johnson intercepted a Trey Petty pass and scampered 60 yards to the end zone to extend the Madison Central lead to 14-0 with 4:58 left in the first quarter.
Starkville cut the lead down to 14-7 with 3:54 left in the opening period as Courtland Cooper scored on a 3-yard run.
After that, it was all Jaguars (3-1, 1-0 Region 2-6A).
Glen Singleton scored on a 4-yard run on the second play of the second quarter to extend the Madison Central lead to 21-7.
Max Zuluaga added a 20-yard field goal with three minutes left to give the Jaguars a 24-7 lead.
After Denym Mitchell intercepted a Petty pass on the opening drive of the second half, Norris scored on a 2-yard run to extend the lead to 31-7.
Zuluaga added a 35-yard field goal under a minute left in the third quarter, and Sutton hit Southern Miss commit Isaiah Spencer on a 70-yard touchdown pass on the second play of the fourth quarter to give Madison Central a 41-7 lead.
Cooper added an 11-yard touchdown run, and Jaylon York had a 33-yard touchdown catch from Jaylen Ruffin for Starkville to cut the lead down to 41-21.
“I thought we did a good job of making their quarterback uncomfortable all night with pressures,” Collums said. “Vic did what we’ve expected of him each week, and he’ll gain confidence. Starting 1-0 in this region is huge.”
Sutton finished the night 10 of 17 for 229 yards with a touchdown. Spencer had seven catches for 182 yards with a score.
“People have been calling us underdogs, so we came out and showed that we’re still the top dogs around here,” Sutton said. “We handled our business and executed really well.”
Petty had 171 yards passing for Starkville. The Yellow Jackets dropped to 4-1, 0-1.
“They beat our butts. We’ve got a lot of getting better to do, and hopefully we can see them again,” Starkville coach Chris Jones said. “We looked bad tonight, so we got a lot to do and get ready for Clinton next week.”
You can help your community
Quality, in-depth journalism is essential to a healthy community. The Dispatch brings you the most complete reporting and insightful commentary in the Golden Triangle, but we need your help to continue our efforts. Please consider subscribing to our website for only $2.30 per week to help support local journalism and our community.