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SHS, SA see difficult starts to the season

August 28, 2012

It hasn't been the start of the football season that Starkville High School and Starkville Academy wanted.

For two teams that played for state championships last season, it's somewhat surprising to see the
programs a combined 1-3 after two games.

There was no secret in the preseason that the Yellowjackets were presented with a very difficult non-division schedule. The series of Noxubee County, Madison Central, Tupelo and West Point are the same four opponents that SHS opened with last year.

The Jackets went 2-2 in those games in 2011 with wins over Madison Central and Tupelo, while the losses came to Noxubee County and West Point. Starkville lost to Noxubee County 29-8 to open this season and fell to Madison Central 24-8 last week.

By only scoring eight points in each of the first two games, it's obvious that the Jackets have struggled on offense. Against Madison Central, it didn't help that senior quarterback Gabe Myles, a member of The Starkville Daily News Preseason Top 10 Offensive Team, had to sit out the game because of a sprained ankle. Caleb Wilson seemed to manage the situation as well as possible in Myles' absence, but just lacked the experience to be thrust into such a tough spot against one of the best teams in the state on the road.

Not only did Starkville have to play without its best offensive player, but linebacker David Fair, one of the best defensive players for the Jackets, was hurt against the Jaguars. It's not known right now if the extent of Fair's injury will keep him out of any future games.

Starkville travels to Tupelo for its next game and the Golden Wave sport an improved team so that game will be a challenge also.

If the Jackets are without Myles and/or Fair for any length of time, it's going to be harder to win games, especially the last two non-division encounters.

In Starkville Academy's case, the 19-6 loss to Heritage Academy came out of left field for me.

The Volunteers were able to pull out a 13-0 victory against St. Andrews in the first week, while the Patriots lost to Lamar School.

For whatever reason, SA had a difficult time moving the football against Heritage from the opening whistle.

The Volunteers had 182 yards of total offense, but were lacking the big play at the right time. There were three turnovers, two interceptions and one lost fumble, that hampered their progress.

Quarterback Drew Pellum and running back Colby Runnels are players that have been through the wars with SA. Expect them to rally the troops when the Vols make the trip to Senatobia Friday night to take on Magnolia Heights School.

The playoff futures of SHS and SA won't be determined until later in the season when division play starts so both schools still have some time to knock off the rust.

Danny P. Smith is sports editor and columnist for the Starkville Daily News. The opinions in this column are his and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Daily News or its staff.

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