Opposing viewpoint: Winston Academy

Staff Writer

Coach Pat Byrd brought a tremendous amount of experience with him to the Winston Academy football program this season after working in the public school system for 30 years.

With stops in Amory and Saltillo, Byrd knows what success looks like. He is trying to leads the Patriots in that same direction.

Starkville Academy head coach Chase Nicholson already sees a difference in Winston Academy under Byrd’s leadership.

“The mentality is clearly different,” Nicholson said. “The defense gets after it. They’ve always gotten after us because it’s right down the road, but you can tell on film, the defense really gets after it hard. The offense has some skilled players that can do big things.”

One thing that Byrd has tried to bring to the Patriots is an attitude of being tough.

That’s one message he has tried to emphasize.

“Toughness is a developed trait,” Byrd wrote on Twitter earlier this season. “It’s something that a lot of players have to work on every day.”

Winston Academy (2-3) began the season with a 29-14 home victory over Newton Academy, then lost three-straight games at Sylva Bay Academy 6-0, against Copiah Academy at home 42-10 and at Indianola Academy 34-0.

The Patriots earned a 15-14 win on the road against East Rankin Academy last week.

Nicholson said that should give Winston Academy some momentum going into the District 2-AAA opener against his Volunteers in Louisville this week.

“They are a team that if you are not careful, they’ve got good enough players they can beat you,” Nicholson said. “You’ve got to go out there and take care of business. You’ve got to be focused on the task at hand. We challenged them on Sunday to be focused.

“Every day is so important because if you let one day get by you, Winston has the ability to beat you.”