HSFT Stop #59: Tupelo

TUPELO, Miss. (WCBI)  — Tupelo dominated the regular season last year, going 11-0 and outscoring opponents 389 to 56. But the Golden Wave fell to Starkville in the state semifinals. That is the game that everyone remembers the most.

“We had a successful season but we didn’t win the last game,” head coach Ty Hardin said. “It’s going to leave a bitter taste in your mouth and give you some motivation.”

The pain from how last year ended will make success this year even sweeter.

“We use it as revenge man, we always say it’s time to work,” senior linebacker Tristan Jernigan said. “We got to get this back. We got our ring taken away from us last season now it’s time, it’s ours.”

A main reason for last season’s success was the suffocating defense. The Golden Wave defense did not allow a touchdown at home the entire regular season. The formula for such domination is really quite simple.

“Getting out there and giving 110% effort all the time,” senior cornerback Dillon Ruth said. “As a defense we play fast and physical so that’s the goal and the goal is to keep them below 10 points on average.”

When the defensive side of the ball is doing its job it takes the pressure off of the offense and allows it to play loose and free.

“It’s a good deal,” senior quarterback Jeremiah Harrell said. “Like coach says defense wins games so when they get a stop we just go out there and make plays and put points on the board.”

It’s hard to believe but Tupelo flew under the radar to start to 2022 but that is not the case this year. The Wave is ranked as the fourth best team in the state to start the season and they know each week they’ll have a big target on their back.

“We’re not going to surprise people,” Hardin said. “People know who we are, people are going to want to beat us. Our Wave mentality is nobody likes us, what are we going to do about it. We have to live by that and just worry about us and beat everybody.”

There is more pressure on the team this year but they view it as a positive.

“Everybody should like that feeling, everybody should like that pressure,” Harrell said. “We’re going to come with it and show what we’ve got this season.”

Tupelo kicks off it’s season Saturday against Whitehaven at Northwest Community College.

Categories: 2023 High School Football Tour, High School Sports, Local Sports, Sports