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By JOEL COLEMAN
Two weeks into the 2011 football campaign, things couldn't be going any better for the Starkville Academy Volunteers.
The Vols (2-0) have played a pair of games, racked up two convincing wins and in the process, built themselves a bit of early-season momentum.
Still, don't think for a second that anyone associated with SA is satisfied ahead of tonight's 7 p.m. home game against Magnolia Heights, particularly head coach Jeff Terrill.
"We've won a couple of games, but we're not popping any corks and nobody thinks we've arrived," said Terrill. "We're still in the middle of a rebuilding process and trying to have the first winning season here in a long time. We know where we are. Now we need to see if the kids can handle their success and stand out and play again (tonight)."
While the Vols certainly are sporting an admirable attitude as they prepare to face the Chiefs (1-1), no one can argue how successful the year has been up to this point for Starkville Academy.
In SA's first two games this season, the Vols have outscored their opposition by a combined total of 71-10.
Though such a lopsided figure might be enough to pacify some, Terrill says he still sees ways the Vols can better themselves.
"Scores can be deceiving," said Terrill. "We've done some good things, but there's still a lot of room for improvement.
"As a defense, we've got to fit together better. A time or two against Heritage (last week) we got out of whack and had a breakdown in assignments and gave them some things we shouldn't have. Offensively, it's kind of the same. We're inconsistent in some assignments that don't show up in the box score."
It's those mistakes that Terrill hopes to see corrected tonight against the Chiefs, a team that the Vols defeated 34-22 last year.
While SA could arguably have a mental edge tonight having pulled out a victory in last season's meeting, Terrill says this year's Magnolia Heights team is a very different unit from the one the Vols put away a year ago.
"It's a new year and season," said Terrill. "There's nothing that you can reflect back on, except maybe (Magnolia Heights) may have a little motivation to come back and correct (last year's loss) themselves."
Making life tough for the Chiefs however is the fact that many of the players who played in last season's game were lost to graduation.
In their place is a group of players that Magnolia Heights head coach Cliff Young labeled as "young and inexperienced."
One such player is Chiefs quarterback Jamell Newsome, an individual who ran for three touchdowns a week ago in a Magnolia Heights win.
Newsome is a player that Terrill knows the Vols will have to keep their eye on.
"(Newsome) is a very exciting player with really great speed," said Terrill. "He can do a lot with the football. Offensively, the scheme that (Magnolia Heights) runs, they are going to pose a lot of problems for us."
The challenges the Chiefs present the Vols don't stop when Magnolia Heights is on defense.
"Defensively, they are very multiple," said Terrill. "So it's hard to prepare and hard to really get a grip on how you think they'll attack you."
On top of all that, Terrill also knows his team will have plenty of intangibles to overcome tonight if the Vols are to ride their current surge to a 3-0 record.
"(Magnolia Heights) is a well-coached program, a team that has great tradition, and a team that's used to being a playoff-caliber team," said Terrill. "So it's no rest for the weary as we go into week three."