Monday morning quarterback: Starkville Academy vs. Indianola Academy

Robbie Faulk
Staff Writer

Somewhere between the hysteria of the final play in overtime and the rain-soaked celebration that followed at Jackson Academy on Saturday evening, I realized a few things.

First, I wondered why I left my rain jacket in the car two blocks away. Second, a reminder of just how much blood, sweat and tears were shed by the Starkville Academy Volunteers to do what they did against Indianola Academy.

When the Vols sealed their championship fate with a goal line stand on the 1-yard-line, getting to that point in time wasn’t just something that had built since the second game of the season. That was a culmination of more than three years of preparation by coach Chase Nicholson, his staff and his players.

Starkville Academy is no slouch of a program and I’m not suggesting this was some Cinderella-type run. Nicholson was on the staff that last tripped to the state title back in 2014 and he took over the year that followed.
While Nicholson had his team competing for district championships his first two seasons and making a run a couple of games into the playoffs, it wasn’t where he wanted the Vols to be.

This team, though, was special. It was special because, like everything at SA, everyone did their job. There were no superstars on this team and no one person can be given the glory for the rings that follow. Every person gets to stake of claim in being a champion.

I do want to single out a few players. The 14 seniors on this year’s team was the difference and on Saturday, they never shown any brighter.

Almost every big play in the game against the Colonels can be attributed to a senior.

Noah Methvin sparked the offense in the second half and got the team believing it could win. He tied the game on his powerful touchdown run in the fourth quarter.

William Wolfe had the blocked punt that led to the first touchdown.  

Nobody played bigger than Kyle Faver, who had a strip sack, a quarterback hurry that led to an interception from fellow senior Zach Barnes and the game-winning touchdown catch that he willed himself to in the overtime period.

It was truly remarkable to see the senior class find a way to get redemption on its only loss of the year, but also to bring the first championship back to Starkville Academy since 2005. There wasn’t another team that deserved it more than this one.

It’s a credit to the work that Nicholson put in to a program that he has helped build since he was an assistant. The senior class is the greatest evidence of what he’s done as he took a class of three players three years ago and built it into 14.

I can’t imagine any young athlete at that school who wouldn’t want to play for Nicholson or anyone else on his staff. If I learned anything the last three years, that would be the biggest takeaway.

Now the Vols have the task of building from this. Another title will don the trophy case, but they’re going to want more. I expect a new bunch of SA players to step into the big shoes left by this group. This won’t be the end. It’s only the beginning. 

Robbie Faulk is the high school writer for the Starkville Daily News. The views in this column are Faulk's and not necessarily the views of the SDN or its staff.