Starkville Academy head coach Jeff Terrill believes that his team is still in the thick of things.
"We probably had the best two days of practice that we have had all year," Terrill said. "The kids have really responded well. We know we are still in the thick of everything. We look at this as a big game to hopefully get back on the winning side and play well."
The Volunteers suffered a 35-12 loss last week at Parklane Academy. The Vols (4-4, 2-2) are looking to get back on the right track tonight when they welcome rival Winston Academy (3-4) for a 7 p.m. kickoff on homecoming.
"There is always a lot going on," Terrill said. "Our players are handling it very well. The first two days we have practiced, we seem to be focused on the game."
SA took a 55-12 victory last year in Louisville.
The Vols better be ready to play. The Patriots record does not indicate it, but Winston is a much improved team from last year.
Terrill has taken notice of it.
"They are just a very much improved football team," Terrill said. "Coach (Bo Milton) has done a great job down there. They have got size and speed. Being in such a close proximity, it should be a heck of a game."
The good news for the Volunteers is Winston is a spread offense. SA has already faced a number of spread offenses this season.
"He has brought in with him a spread offense that they execute very well, both running and throwing," Terrell said. "They do a real good job defensively with a odd man front scheme. They keep you guessing."
Terrill knows more offenses are going to the spread and believes his defense is equipped to stop a fast-paced, throw it all over the field type of offense.
"It's just sign of the times," Terrill said. "As far as understanding what people are trying to do, we do. We execute better on defense. Our running defense has been better than others. Our pass rush has been better than others and our coverage has been better than others."
Offensively for the Vols, they have found a lot of success on the ground. They have picked up 1,439 yards on the ground this season for a 179.9 per game.
They are led by senior tailback Colby Runnels with 427 yards and four touchdowns.
Drew Pellum has been steady for the Vols as quarterback. He has passed for 692 yards and six touchdowns. He has also thrown six interceptions.