Now that the gridiron action has come to a close for the Starkville Academy Volunteers, coach Jeff Terrill has had a little time to reflect on the 2012 season.
“When you reflect back, you always look at the positive,” Terrill said. “We were able to make the playoffs for the second year in a row. We were very competitive and I think we continued to change the atmosphere and expectations of the program.”
One of the biggest things Terrill said impressed him the most was the Volunteer senior athletes. Terrill was quick to point out how as freshmen these guys struggled win a games, but now as seniors they were able to compete with everyone and prove themselves by earning postseason action.
Terrill knows that replacing athletes like Drew Pellum, who has started as Volunteer quarterback for the past two years, will be no easy task, but the coach states that he feels confident about the future the squads of future seasons.
“We will certainly miss our seniors,” said Terrill. “Drew and the other guys did a great job of executing what we wanted to do. We will never be able to truly replace them, but we are very excited about the future of the team. We will be a very young team, but these guys have some experience so I think they are ready for their turn in the spotlight.”
Those younger guys and their experience are one of the biggest keys that Terrill is counting on as he looks toward the future. The coach states that most of the younger guys have “started and played all year” and most of them “saw a lot of action,” but those are not the only strengths the upcoming Volunteer squads have going for them.
For the second year in a row, the Starkville Academy junior high squads won its division, so Terrill knows he has two good classes of athletes to look forward to.
“We have some great guys coming up next year,” Terrill said. “There are some good athletes in those younger groups. They possess winning attitudes, so it is going to be a lot of fun coaching them and watching them perform on a bigger platform.”
If Terrill and the Volunteers can put the experience from the returning players together with the winning mindset of the younger guys, then it seems Starkville Academy possesses a winning combination for years to come.
The Volunteer season may have ended and Terrill may be starting to look forward, but a few things remained for this year’s squad in the form of postseason awards.
In the first round of awards, Starkville Academy saw six of their athletes honored with all-conference honors.
Coming in on the first-team list were running back Colby Runnels and defensive end Stephen Robinson, while Pellum was chosen to the second team. The honors did not stop there as offensive guard Lane McClendon, running back-receiver Zach Slaughter and defensive lineman Tripp Janssen all earned honorable mentions.