CLARKSDALE – The Starkville Academy Volunteers punished a Clarksdale-Lee Academy defense for 410 yards rushing and picked up a 35-23 road victory Friday night.
Senior running back Matt Ward led the Vols balanced attack with 142 yards on 13 carries, while senior quarterback Kyle Henson added 95 yards on 15 attempts, junior Ryan McKell chipped in 89 yards on eight carries and junior fullback Ryan Mann had 78 yards on 10 attempts.
Although Starkville Academy had its way on the ground in Clarksdale, it was the pass that actually got it going in the first quarter when Henson found McKell for a 45-yard touchdown pass.
The Vols took a 14-0 lead in the second quarter on a 34-yard scoring run by Ward.
After Clarksdale-Lee ralled to cut the margin to 14-9, Will White gave SA a 17-9 lead at halftime with a 27-yard field goal.
McKell helped the Vols stretch out their advantage to 23-9 in the third quarter with a 49-yard touchdown run, then Mann closed the quarter with a 12-yard scoring run. Even though Lee scored on a 58-yard fumble return in the quarter, Starkville Academy's points enabled it to take a 29-17 lead.
In the fourth quarter, Lee did put a bit of pressure on the visitors with a 1-yard score to close to within 29-23, but the Vols put the game away with another Ward touchdown, a 16-yard run.
Starkville Academy rode the power of its running game to 491 yards of total offense and Henson completed 4 of 7 pass attempts for 81 yards.
Mann, James Mapp and Adam Crittenden were singled out for their play on defense, which held Lee to 108 yards rushing.
The Vols, which improved to 2-7, return home to face Magnolia Heights next Friday. It's the final time SA plays at J.E. Logan Field this season.