Game Day for Vols brings test from Raiders

Starkville Academy's Nason Heflin

Staff Writer

Everything the Starkville Academy Volunteers have done in the offseason have pointed to this point.

It’s finally game day.

Starkville Academy will officially begin the defense of its AAA State championship as the results begin to count.

After a successful jamboree at Noxapater, the Vols will travel to Meridian Friday night to take on the Lamar School Raiders and that has caused a little more pep in their step.

“You can tell the energy of the guys changes this week,” Starkville Academy coach Chase Nicholson said. “Game week is just different. It feels different, smells different and tastes different. It’s suppose to be like that. We are excited to go down there and get better.”

Nicholson said the jamboree confirmed in his mind exactly where his Vols stand going into the season opener.

The defense performed much like it did so many times last season by not allowing a point to Noxapater. The offense put up 16 points.

“(The defense) made plays all over for us, gave the offense a chance to score and gave them a short field,” Nicholson said. “That’s what we expect from the defense.”

Nicholson got to see the things on film so Starkville Academy could have a good week of correction.

He said the Vols came back this week eager to learn and get better.

Senior running back/defensive back Nason Heflin said the path to the season opener has been a smooth one for Starkville Academy.

“Coach has given us the tools to go out there and do our best,” Heflin said. “We’ve worked hard all throughout the summer in conditioning, lifting, practice and everything to put us in the best position we can be in.”

The Vols have bitten off the usual tough challenge of playing Lamar School first.

Having to play a team on the road that has back-to-back state titles under its belt won’t be an easy task, but Nicholson wouldn’t have it any other way.

“You always know it’s going to be a good Lamar team,” Nicholson said. “Coach (Mac) Barnes does a good job with them. He’s always got a great quarterback and always has great skilled guys. They are well-coached. It’s a great season opener test. It’s not a pushover and not a team that’s going to give you any kind of false enthusiasm. You’ve got to go to work to beat them.”

Starkville Academy defeated Lamar 43-21 to start the 2017 season.