By DANNY P. SMITH
Homecomings can present a set of unique challenges for high school football programs.
Food, fun and fellowship are all potential distractions for teams trying to focus and prepare to win a football game.
When possible, schools try to schedule an opponent that it believes can be beaten fairly easily to make sure success is gained on the field for homecoming.
That can be difficult to identify at this time of the year when squads are right in the middle of division and conference schedules.
That's the case for the Starkville High School Yellowjackets and Starkville Academy Volunteers this week. Both schools have very important division games set for homecoming.
The Vols are looking to bounce back after dropping their first game of the season to Jackson Prep 23-0 on the road.
After playing its first two conference games away from home, Starkville Academy takes on Copiah Academy at J.E. Logan Field at 7 p.m.
It's been a very successful season so far for the Vols despite the loss to Prep and expect them to be ready to play.
Starkville Academy has come so far since Jeff Terrill took over as coach prior to last season and he's not going to let his players get down on themselves after just one tough game.
Drew Pellum has been leading the Vols very adequately at quarterback and has two very good running backs behind him with Colby Runnels and Ryan Mann. The defense appears to be solid and only giving up 23 points to Prep can be considered a pretty good thing.
SA is in a pretty good position to qualify for the postseason so that's a pretty good reason to take Copiah seriously and be fired up to give a solid effort on homecoming.
As far as the Jackets go, they are set for their second-straight Class 5A, Region 2, District 6 game at home after defeating Lanier 53-13 last week. Starkville hosts another Jackson school when Provine comes to town and it's expected that the test will be a little bit tougher.
As the Vols have this season, the Jackets have broken in a new quarterback this season in Gabe Myles, the son of former Mississippi State defensive back Eddie Myles.
Gabe Myles has shown the ability to make plays with his arm and legs.
Last week against Lanier, Myles completed 7-of-11 pass attempts for 155 yards. He seems to understand how to get the pass to the playmakers so they can use their talents. Myles completed a 61-yard pass to running back Preston Baker and had a 50-yard completion for a touchdown to speedster Devin Mitchell.
With these talented athletes making these types of plays, it has created some positive situations at Starkville High and Starkville Academy.
Hopefully, it will continue and homecoming will indeed be successful for those schools.
Danny P. Smith is sports editor and columnist for the Starkville Daily News. The opinions in this column are his and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Daily News or its staff.