Opposing viewpoint: Leake Academy

Staff Writer

Leake Academy has presented the Starkville Academy Volunteers one of their biggest challenges each football season.

In the last three years, the Vols have defeated the Rebels by a combined 15 points.

Starkville Academy head coach Chase Nicholson doesn’t anticipate anything different on Friday night when his team makes the trip to Madden to complete the regular season and District 2-AAA schedule.

“They play good football and they play us tough,” Nicholson said. “We know what to expect from a Leake team. The guys have been playing them for years from junior high all the way through the high school years. We know what effort it’s going to take and what playing down there is like.”

It has been a very good season for Leake up to this point.

The Rebels have a 7-2 overall record and have won two out of three games in the district so far. After beating Canton Academy 43-7, they lost a 41-20 decision to Heritage Academy, then bounced back to handle Winston Academy 43-8.

Nicholson said it’s a typical Leake team and he should know because he has played against the Rebels growing up at Newton Academy and has coached against them his entire career.

“They are Leake,” Nicholson said. “They have some good country boys who are tough and like to get after it. They have some smart kids who you can tell know the game of football. They love playing football and bring a tradition of years of great football. They are a playoff team year in and year out for as long as I can remember. You know they are going to come prepared and ready to play.”

Sam Wilder is a capable running back for Leake and it also has a dual-threat at quarterback with Will-Lawson Harkins.

“Their quarterback definitely looks like he’s got it,” Starkville Academy’s Cade Vickers said. “The line doesn’t look bad either.”

The biggest advantage the Rebels may have Friday night is the home field. It will be a rowdy atmosphere that the Vols will have to be ready to handle.

Nicholson said the players can’t worry about how Starkville Academy is received in Madden. After last week’s loss to Heritage, the Vols said the focus must be placed on themselves.

“Our job is to look at us, figure out us, do a better job of taking care of us, handle what we can control and handle each play,” Nicholson said. “Every play is the most important thing and that’s what we’ve got to get across and will continue to do week in and week out. Each play could be the last one or each one could be the defining one.”