Monday morning quarterback: Starkville Academy 28, Winston Academy 2


Robbie Faulk

By: 
ROBBIE FAULK
Staff Writer

On the surface, Friday night’s Starkville Academy win over Winston Academy looked the part of another dominating victory in a stretch of dominating victories.

The Volunteer defense, again, gave up no points. That’s the third-straight week that has happened and it was the fourth game in six that it has kept the opposing offense from scoring. The 28-2 final score tells the story of a great start to Class 2-AAA schedule as Starkville Academy increased its winning streak in all games to 17-straight and moved to 6-0.

It was apparent from the press box, however, that the Vols still have work to do if they want to repeat as state champions. As a Winston alum, it hurts to say that the program is not very well-respected as it once was when I was growing up. The Patriots won four-straight state titles in the late 1990’s and in 2000 and they were in consecutive North State championships back in 2006 and 2007.

Winston Academy had a couple of teams since that time that were very competitive, but the success has tailed off completely as it hasn’t made the playoffs in years. Long story short – Starkville Academy should have won that game easily and it did.

Volunteer coach Chase Nicholson mentioned post game that he wasn’t thrilled with how his team failed to execute many of the little things. That’s something that has happened off and on this year as Starkville Academy is breaking in some new players on offense and it sputtered to finish drives on that side of the football against Winston in what was ultimately an easy win.

It’s not anything that concerns Nicholson and I wouldn’t be concerned, either, if I were a Vols fan. There were some dropped passes and even the defense had a couple of missed assignments in the secondary. It ultimately didn’t do any damage to the scoreboard as the Patriots struggled to move the ball all night against SA’s defense.

Still, Nicholson said there will be plenty to work on this week.

“It’s just typical, normal football things that we should be correcting," Nicholson said. "If we didn’t have anything to correct, it wouldn’t be any fun. Our guys have a great attitude and I know they’re going to be excited to come to work this week. All of it makes what you’re going to do in practice fun because it’s all working towards a bigger goal.”

A win is a win. Nicholson has always made a point to say he’ll never be upset about those. For someone that has won as often as he has in such a short time, though, he knows that some of those mistakes they made on Friday will contribute to losses down the road against better teams.

In looking at the schedule ahead, there are some teams that are really going to challenge the Vols in the regular season and they’ll have to jump those hurdles if they want good playoff positioning as they had a year ago.
Starkville Academy's next opponent at Pillow is suddenly a scary one. The Mustangs played a brutal early schedule and started 0-4 with losses to Indianola, MRA and Jackson Prep as well as a 20-12 loss to Bayou Academy, which is the weakest of that group but is 4-2 for the year.

Since then, Pillow has back-to-back wins against Heritage and Carroll Academy. The victory over the Vols’ biggest rivals and on the road at Heritage is an eye-opener and SA will certainly have its attention spiked.

After this week, the Vols finish off the home schedule with Canton and Heritage before going to Leake. The last two games especially will tell the tale of the season for SA.

If the Vols clean up their mistakes, they’re fully capable of winning any game in front of them. If some of the lapses from Friday linger on, it could come back to haunt them in the end. 

Robbie Faulk is the high school writer for The Starkville Daily News. The opinions in this column are Faulk's and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SDN or its staff.

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