Vols earn another playoff shutout

Starkville Academy's defense allows no points again Friday night.
Staff Writer

A trip to the MAIS Class AAA State championship will run through Starkville Academy.

Led by a stone wall of a defensive unit, the Volunteers have been dominant through the first two playoff games. After rolling past Park Place Christian Academy 41-0 last week, Starkville Academy dominated again in round two against Central Hinds.

Surrendering just four first downs for the night, the Vols (11-1) got their second-straight shutout with the 30-0 win at J.E. Logan Field.

“We challenged them this week," Starkville Academy coach Chase Nicholson said. "We knew it was going to be tough on them with the style of offense (Central Hinds) has. Our defense stood up to it. The proof is in the pudding.”

Outside of the defensive performance, the Vols ran the football at will on the Cougars. The Vols put together 244 yards on the ground as Taylor Arnold continued his big season as the 1,000-yard rusher had 19 carries for 139 yards and a score.

Matt and Will Miller combined for four tackles for loss in the game and Kyle Faver added 1.5 tackles for loss with a sack.

Defense set the tone in a rapid first half that saw the game scoreless through the first 12 minutes.

Starkville Academy struck first early in the second quarter when, facing a third down and long, Ben Owens hit Raegan Richardson for a 29-yard strike and an early 7-0 lead.

“We missed some opportunities early," Nicholson said. "We realize our identity now because we have both of our quarterbacks back. With the two-quarterback system, they both run the ball well and throw the ball well and we’re doing what we want to do.”

Despite giving up some field position and an interception in the quarter, the Vols’ defense held strong and gave the offense the football back with over a minute left.

Noah Methvin hit Raegan Richardson for a 19-yard pass to get the football inside the 10-yard line with less than 10 seconds left and Cameron Mckee gave Starkville Academy the 10-0 lead at the half with his 24-yard field goal.

Defense led the way out of the locker room as well starting with a three-and-out that spearheaded what would be a dominating Volunteer drive. Starkville Academy rode the back of Arnold who rushed for 38 yards on the drive into the red zone. Methvin finished the drive by diving for the pylon and giving his team a 16-0 lead.

The Vols put the game away on their next drive that took them into the fourth quarter. Arnold finished it off with a 2-yard score to make it 23-0.

William Wolfe put a stamp on the game with his 16-yard run and Starkville Academy took another shutout win.

With a 71-0 advantage through two playoff games, the road is about to stiffen in a large way next week. The Vols welcome in the No. 3 seed Adams County Christian School (11-1) for a matchup of two teams looking for a trip to the championship.

Nicholson and his team has memories of ACCS from last season.

“They put us out last year when we went to their place and they played for a state championship last year,” Nicholson said. “They come to us this year and we know what it’s like to make that trek. We have a lot of advantages, but our biggest thing is we’ve got to keep getting better as a football team.”