Starkville Academy Junior High football coach Chad Peterson stood at the huddle following the final game of the season Thursday night and expressed how proud he was of the progress made by the team.
After a 27-7 loss to Madison-Ridgeland Academy, Peterson considered where the Junior Vols had been, where they are now and where they are headed.
"We started out at the bottom and we've gotten halfway where we want to be," Peterson said. "The next step will be to be on top.
"I don't think they even scored much last year and didn't win by any means, but they got a taste of a win last Thursday and I'm proud of that fact. I wish we could have won (Thursday night), but MRA is a very talented team and they had a little more than we did."
Junior Vols Quarterback Jake Goodwin completed 13 of 25 pass attempts for 253 yards and rushed nine times for 28 yards with a touchdown.
Goodwin's 1-yard touchdown run came with 5:18 remaining in the game and capped an 11-play, 67-yard drive to close the score to 20-7.
Starkville Academy got the football back in the closing moments, but was turned away as MRA returned an interception for a touchdown to close out the game.
Goodwin was able to spread the football around to three different receivers as Kirby Cox caught five passes for 83 yards, Michael Miller added four grabs for 73 yards and John McReynolds contributed four catches for 60 yards.
In earlier action at J.E. Logan Field, the 8th grade Vols lost a 14-0 decision to MRA.
Peterson liked the participation with the younger SA teams and believes the future is bright for the coming years.
"We've got 22 8th graders, 19 7th graders and we've even got 18 or 19 6th graders so our numbers are getting in the right direction," Peterson said. "The varsity may still struggle a little bit with numbers, but I told them our day is coming."
There are nine 9th graders that will be moving up to participate with the varsity team beginning on Monday. The 7th and 8th grades play a makeup game at North Delta next Thursday.