Quarterback Drew Pellum (5) of the Volunteers looks to elude the grasp of a Patriots defender Friday night. (Photo by Kim Murrell, SDN)
The answers for the Starkville Academy Volunteers were all positive during homecoming on Friday night.
After SA took a 20-0 lead in its game against rival Winston Academy, the visiting Patriots hit a big play with a 76-yard touchdown run by Orien Daily to cut into that margin a bit.
The Vols came right back and hit a big play of their own when quarterback Drew Pellum found Austin Miles for a 53-yard touchdown with 1:09 remaining in the first half.
Starkville Academy rode that momentum into the second half and went on to defeat Winston Academy 41-7 at J.E. Logan Field.
"We had to come back and make a big play," Pellum said. "Everybody on the sideline was real excited and got us back in the game."
The Vols bounced back from last week's 35-12 loss to Parklane Academy and improved their overall record to 5-4.
Even though it was a non-conference game, Starkville Academy coach Jeff Terrill was happy to see his squad respond when the Patriots broke the big score in the second quarter.
"I think good teams answer," Terrill said. "We were really frustrated. (Daily) is a good player, but anytime you give up a play like that, it's very discouraging. I think it kind of sealed the deal when we came back and answered."
The Vols did not allow Winston Academy any points in the second half, while putting up 14 points of their own on a 7-yard run by Pellum with 6:18 left in the third quarter and a 20-yard run by Colby Runnels with 5:51 remaining in the game.
Pellum also got the scoring started in the game with his 1-yard sneak on SA's first offensive possession of the game.
Also in the first quarter, Joel Ray got in on the fun for the Vols with an 11-yard touchdown at the 1:28 mark of the first quarter.
Jonathon Burton, who hit all five of his point after touchdown kicks of the night, hit field goals of 22 and 32 yards in the second quarter as SA's advantage grew to 20-0.
Runnels followed up a 64-yard first half of rushing with 79 more in the second half to finish with 17 carries for 143 yards.
Pellum added 66 yards rushing on 14 carries, and completed 4 of 7 pass attempts for 73 more yards. He even completed a pass to himself on a deflection in the second half.
On defense for the Vols, Runnels, Hunter Peeples and Drew Harrell each recovered a fumble.
Starkville Academy gets back into Class AAA-District 2, Division II play next week with a road game against East Rankin Academy in Pelahatchie.
Terrill was glad to get a homecoming win in the books before looking to next week.
"We needed the momentum," Terrill said. "Sometimes it's more difficult to prepare and get ready when you're favored than the other way. The kids practiced hard all week. Sometimes we weren't as sharp and didn't focus as well as we could have tonight, but all in all, it was a good effort."
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