All about trust: Belief in each other helps Vols play well on defense

Starkville Academy's Ben Guest and Hal Archer watch as a referee measures for a first down.

Staff Writer

It’s all about trust.

When the Starkville Academy defense takes the field each game, the Volunteers believe in each other and each player knows they have a job to do.

That’s why it’s not unusual to see Starkville Academy record shutouts like the one it had last week against French Camp Academy 25-0.

Defensive back Howell Archer said there’s really no secret as to why the Vols are so effective on defense.

“I think what makes us so good is how hard we go in practice,” Archer said. “When we go against our offense, it makes us a lot better with how good they are.”

Archer said the trust factor goes back to last year when the Vols were able to record six shutouts.

With nine out of 11 starters returning for 2018, it seems Starkville Academy has taken back up where it left off in the Class AAA State championship season.

‘It’s about knowing everyone is going to make their fits and it’s going to work out,” Archer said.

Chase Nicholson, the head coach of the Vols, has an offensive mind, but even he has to catch himself watching the defense and marveling at what it does on the field.

He gives all of the credit to defensive coordinator Brad Butler and defensive line coach Bubba Davis for their work in that area.

“We put so much into it,’ Nicholson said. “Our defense is talented year in and year out because we have two great defensive coaches who get these guys in the right place and really coach. Those two guys get them schemed up, ready to go and make it simple for them. It’s always neat to see our defense fly around. We have a defense that puts our offense in good situations.”

Taylor Ray leads the Vols in tackles with 16 total and 14 of those are assists. Campbell Spivey adds 15 tackles, while Archer and Sam Clark have 14 tackles each. Will Miller had three sacks.

Butler likes the progress of the Starkville Academy defense after earning a tough 21-20 victory over Lamar School in week one and then blanking French Camp. His unit will be tested again this week when Indianola Academy comes into town Friday.

“We were proud of the way we played on defense,” Butler said. “We took the first week and did what we had to do. Even though we gave up a lot of yards, we had to keep everything in front of us and not let anything big happen. Last week everything came together for us.

“We have another challenge this week. What’s so great about it is each week presents a different challenge for us.”