By Robert Wilson
Gavin Griffin is back and so is winning at Velma Jackson.
The 5-foot-9, 160-pound junior running back gained a career-high 271 yards and scored four touchdowns to lead Velma Jackson to a 45-0 victory over Yazoo City in Griffin’ first game back after transferring from Hartfield Academy.
Griffin’s big game helped Velma Jackson to its first win of the season after three losses. It also was the Falcons’ first Class 2A, Region 6 game of the season.
For his outstanding performance, Griffin has been named the Junction Deli Metro Jackson Football Player of the Week.
Griffin was Velma Jackson’s most productive running back last season but decided to transfer to MAIS Class 6A Hartfield Academy in Flowood this summer. He didn’t stay long after the season started and was back at MHSAA Class 2A Velma Jackson in North Madison County about two weeks ago.
Griffin’s first game to dress out was a big one. He scored on runs of 65, 25, 18 and 10 yards. Griffin also caught one pass for nine yards.
“We are glad to have Gavin back as part of our team,” Velma Jackson coach Bernard Euell said. “His importance to what we do offensively was clearly on display Friday night. He ran the ball extremely hard, which inspired our young offensive line to block even harder. Gavin bringing stability to our running game will definitely strengthen our passing game. It’s no secret that we have a very important piece of the puzzle back to the team that has district and state championship aspirations.”
Griffin gained 1,156 yards on 147 carries, a 10.3-yard average, and scored 16 TDs last season as a sophomore and led Velma Jackson to an 8-3 record and a No. 5 final ranking in Class 2A in MaxPreps last season.
Velma Jackson opened the season with three close losses to Canton 14-12, Yazoo County 25-22, and Raymond 19-14. But having Griffin back has given the Falcons a huge boost in confidence.
“He meant so much to the success of our team last year as a sophomore and we expect him to have an even bigger impact in his return,” Euell said. “Gavin is such a very versatile back that he will surely give us a boost in our running game and passing game. It has definitely been an easy transition for him since arriving back. Gavin is very familiar with what we do offensively, which has allowed him to hit the ground running. I’ve been very impressed with his leadership and work ethic since arriving back. He has always been a hard worker but since returning, he seems even more determined to achieve whatever goals he has set for himself. Gavin has the potential to definitely play beyond high school.”
Velma Jackson goes for its second straight victory Friday night when it plays host to Leake Central at home in Camden.