By DANNY P. SMITH
Year two is turning out pretty successful so far for football coaches Jamie Mitchell and Jeff Terrill in Starkville.
Terrill has already gotten the Starkville Academy Volunteers into the playoffs, while Mitchell has the Starkville Yellowjackets in a very good position in Class 5A, Region 2, District 6 with a 3-0 record.
With last Friday's 7-5 victory against Parklane Academy, Starkville Academy clinched a spot in the postseason for the first time since 2005 when it won a state championship.
The Vols improved to 7-1 overall and 3-1 in Class AAA-Division II this season with their only loss being to Jackson Prep.
It took a strong defensive effort for SA to pull out a two-point win and has led to what has been a good season to this point.
Senior Ryan Mann, who has definitely witnessed the ups and downs during his time with the Vols, said the goal for the team was to win a state championship.
If the saying "defense wins championships" holds any meaning, then Starkville Academy has the tools necessary to make a run in the playoffs.
The Vols have a non-conference game scheduled this week at Winston Academy. This is a rivalry game so SA must understand that anything can happen in this type of situation and needs to take care of business in Louisville.
As far as the Jackets, they had to come from behind on the road to defeat Ridgeland 26-23 and remained undefeated in the region.
Starkville was down to Ridgeland 23-11 in the third quarter, but didn't quit and scored 15 unanswered points in the fourth quarter.
Mitchell said the Jackets wouldn't have won a game like that one year ago and are beginning to show the character it takes to get the job done.
"We had a real special day in the locker room (last) Thursday and some things happened where you know your team is getting there," Mitchell said.
Players like quarterback Gabe Myles, running backs Preston Baker, Devin Mitchell and Stanley Higgins, and defensive back Johnny Smith were just a few instrumental in helping Starkville rally in Ridgeland.
Myles' effort was especially impressive because he overcame three turnovers to throw a touchdown pass to Higgins and scored on a 2-point conversion run.
The Jackets should be favored to get their fourth region win on Friday against Canton at home.
Even though the visiting Tigers have yet to win a game in the region doesn't mean Starkville needs to let up. If the Jackets show the same desire they had in the second half of the Ridgeland game, they shouldn't have any problem picking up their sixth game overall this season.
It's hard to believe there are only four more weeks left in the regular season for Starkville High and only three more for Starkville Academy until the postseason.
This could shape up to be an interesting stretch run of the season as area teams battle for playoff positioning.
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.