Starkville Academy's Joel Ray (21) wraps up on a tackle against Hillcrest Christian School Friday night. (Photo by Michael Wardlaw, SDN)
The Starkville Academy Volunteers didn't leave many doubts early that they would be improving their record to 3-2 for the season.
Starkville Academy scored early and often as it crushed Hillcrest Christian Academy 42-0 to open conference play.
The Volunteers marched the ball down the field on their opening possession of the evening resulting in a Blake Slaughter scoring run of 3 yards and never looked back.
Starkville Academy returned its offensive back onto the field quickly and Michael Miller had a 5-yard dash to build the lead to 14-0 over the visitors from Jackson.
On the first play of the second quarter, the lead was pushed to 21-0 when Slaughter returned to the end zone from 17 yards out.
â€śWe really donâ€™t have that many guys returning from last year," SA offensive coordinator Chase Nicholson said. "They are just growing up right in front of us. We are still a young team but we have just grown up each week. Weâ€™ve said all along that we are going to get better each and every week and we have.â€ť
The Volunteers returned to the end zone with a Colby Runnels 8-yard run and was quickly followed by an 18-yard toss from Drew Pellum to Hunter Bolin to push the lead to 35-0 at the half.
â€śReally right now, we are just protecting the football,â€ť Nicholson said. â€śWe struggled with that the first two games. Over the last two games, we really havenâ€™t put the ball on the field and our penalties are down.â€ť
For the game, SA rushed the ball 30 times for 191 yards while Pellum was a perfect 4-for-4 for 108 yards and a score.
The defense wouldnâ€™t be outdone as they held Hillcrest to 25 yards rushing on 23 carries. It also help the visitors to a 5-for-8 with a zero-yard effort through the air.
â€śEach week we are focused on our opponent, but we are really focused on ourselves,â€ť said Nicholson. â€śWe have to get better at the little things and the big things will take care of itself.â€ť
The Volunteers remain at home next Friday as they will host Jackson Prep at J.E. Logan Field.Â
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