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By DANNY P. SMITH
The future of the Starkville Academy boys soccer team was on display early during Wednesday afternoon's match against Magnolia Heights School.
Two sophomores and a freshman scored all of the first half goals for the Vols and they went on to an easy 11-1 victory at the Starkville Sportsplex.
The contributions of so many young players has Starkville Academy soccer coach Robert Gardner trying to plan what the best strategy may be moving forward.
"I've got to figure out the right mixture," Gardner said. "I still feel like I need to change a few things, but as far as getting into the grind of January, I've been pretty happy with our progress overall."
Sophomore Drew Pellum, who scored three goals for the Vols (all in the first half), was happy to be a part of the team bouncing back from 10-0 loss to Jackson Prep last Saturday.
"It was important for us to get some goals early and set a tone," Pellum said. "We needed a win today so maybe we can get a winning streak going."
It was the first win of the season for SA as its record stands at 1-3.
Along with the goals from Pellum, the Vols got a pair of first-half goals from sophomore Matt Jones and two from freshman Jake Goodwin.
In the second half, seniors Conner McKee and Patrick Jones had one goal each as Starkville Academy built a 9-0 lead before Magnolia Heights scored its one and only goal.
Freshman Stanton McMinn had the final two goals of the game for the Vols.
It pleased Gardner to see SA perform well after a tough start to the season.
"When you played Pillow twice and then what's believed to be the best team in the state in Jackson Prep, it's going to be very difficult to get wins," Gardner said. "Hopefully, we can come into this last week before the Christmas break and it was nice to get a good performance today. I'm pretty pleased with our progress. I'm very happy with the boys."
The Vols host Lee Academy Friday with a varsity match only at 3 p.m.