Monday morning quarterback: Starkville Academy vs. Leake Academy

Robbie Faulk
Staff Writer

When the Starkville Academy football team met for film either on Sunday or on Monday, the coaches probably found plenty of things to point out to players.

Friday night was not a pretty game by any stretch of the imagination. The Volunteers had penalties and turnovers and Leake Academy gave them all they could handle because of it. As I wrote in my game story that night, however, they just continue to have big plays when they need them and the defense was outstanding once again.

The special thing about SA’s squad is that it seems to be different players every week that step up and make plays. It started with Willie Latham with his interception in the end zone on what would have been a game-tying drive in the second quarter for Leake. Cornerback Ben Guest was challenged all night against the Rebels’ best player at wide receiver and after losing two battles early, he came back with two pass breakups and an interception.

Will Miller had a couple of big sacks and Kyle Faver added even more pressure to make things uncomfortable for Leake in the backfield. The biggest play of the night came from Sam Clark, who picked off a pass in the end zone with less than a minute left that sealed the game.

That’s not to say that the defense completely bailed out SA in the game, but coach Chase Nicholson said post game that his offense needs to make more plays. He mentioned that the Vols hope to not rely on the defense so much in the postseason. I think he’ll agree with me that it’s nice to have a stable defense that you can hold on to when times get tough.

It’s also nice to have running backs that can eat up chunks of yards behind a physical offensive front. Taylor Arnold and Nason Heflin cruised through the defense all night long and quarterback Noah Methvin had time in the pocket to throw. If things get cleaned up offensively, this is a very, very dangerous SA team in the playoffs.

With the 2-AAA title in their pocket and just one loss, the Vols have put themselves in position to host playoff games at J.E. Logan Field, which is a place that has been very kind to Nicholson over the years and even as an assistant. The road to the state championship will have to run through Starkville and it starts this week when SA hosts the No. 15 seeded Park Place Christian Academy Crusaders. Perhaps the football team can stake out revenge for their girl’s soccer team’s state championship loss to Park Place.

My money is on the Vols just going out and playing as focused a game as they’ve played this season. I think that this team has what it takes to compete for a state title and I’d love to see it get another shot at Indianola Academy, which handed SA its only loss of the season.

It’s win or go home now and I’ll be betting on the Vols enjoy playing enough to keep on fighting. 

Robbie Faulk is the high school writer for the Starkville Daily News. The views in this column are Faulk's and not necessarily the views of the SDN or its staff.