The Starkville Academy football team has come to that part of the season where one win or one loss can make or break its season.
Tonight, the Volunteers (3-3, 1-1) travel to Gallman to take on Copiah Academy (0-6, 0-1) at 7 p.m. in a division game.
"They are a division foe that we have played before," SA head coach Jeff Terrill said. "We're both very familiar with each other. The game means an awful lot. The winner is really in the driver's seat, at least for a playoff spot. It ought to be a real great battle."
The Vols are coming off a 49-21 loss to Jackson Prep last week at home. There has been no hang over from that loss.
"We have bounced back from that pretty good," Terrill said. "I am not going to say there wasn't a lot of emotion, but I think our kids wanted to just try to play well."
SA didn't play its best game last week, but hung tough with a good Patriot team. This week Terrill is looking for his squad to get back to fundamentals and play like it has.
"It is going to be tough," Terrill said. "You have to go back and do the things we talked about a week ago – protecting the ball and executing well on offense. Defense has to continue to tackle better and not make critical errors. A lot of times it's not really the opponent you play. You're almost kind of playing yourself. We really think that if we don't beat ourselves, everything will turn out well."
SA played some of its earlier games on the road. The Vols have been at home for the past three Friday nights. Terrill is no worried about going on the road.
"We have been on the road," Terrill said. "We are well into the season. We don't worry about anything like that. We will miss home because we have a good atmosphere."
The Colonels have relied on the run in the past this year. They have leaned more to the throw behind quarterback Ryan Drew.
"They tend the throw the ball more this year," Terrill said. "They have got a couple of wide outs that are really good. The quarterback does a good job. They throw a little bit more than most schools that you see. It will be interesting to see how we do."
SA relies more on the run, but quarterback Drew Pellum gives the Vols a threat to throw. He also can be effective in the running game.
"He just continues to improve," Terrill said. "His throwing has gotten better. As he continues to run the option, he continues to get us in good plays. I just see him getting better as he goes through the season just like he did last year."
Volunteer lineman Trip Janesson missed last week's game and has been upgraded to questionable for tonight's game.