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Starkville Academy looks to build on momentum

 

Scott Walters

 

 

After hitting the proverbial reset button on the football season, Starkville Academy looks forward to building something positive from here. 

 

The Volunteers overcame back-to-back losses by playing their most complete game of the year in last Friday's 45-0 win over Leake Academy. 

 

Now, Starkville Academy (2-2) goes for two in a row when Hillcrest Christian comes to J.E. Logan Field. 

 

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. Friday in Starkville. 

 

"We worked real hard (last week) to get our guys to swam to the ball," Starkville Academy coach Jeff Terrill said. "We wanted a new dedication on defense." 

 

The plan worked. The Volunteers only allowed 105 total yards, while posting their second shutout of the season. 

 

Despite recent struggles against Heritage Academy and Magnolia Heights Academy, the Volunteers still control their postseason fate. 

 

Friday night's contest with Hillcrest (0-4) is the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools Class AAA, District 2 opener. 

 

"There is a lot football left in our season," Starkville Academy senior defensive lineman Stephen Robertson said. "We can still reach our goals. However, we have to work hard and keep getting better." 

 

For Starkville Academy, Drew Pellum rushed for 69 yards and threw a pair of touchdowns. On the ground, Colby Runnels led the way with 84 rushing yards, including a pair of scores. 

 

The Volunteers have only scored 10 second-half points this season. However, this past Friday night, that was not a major concern, since the Volunteers led 38-0 at halftime. 

 

"We came out really focused and ready to play," Terrill said. "I thought our attitude was really great, even though we had been struggling." 

 

Starkville Academy won last season's meeting, 42-8. 

 

Ethel (2-2, 0-1) 

 

at East Oktibbeha (1-3, 0-1) 

 

East Oktibbeha looks for first victory inside MHSAA Class 1A, Region 3 play when the Titans play host to Ethel. 

 

Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. Friday in Crawford. 

 

East Oktibbeha is looking to bounce back from a hard-fought 42-20 loss to Sebastopol in its region opener last Friday night. 

 

"We are working on consistency," East Oktibbeha coach Randy Brooks said. "It is a situation where we have a couple of good plays in a row and then we make a mistake. 

 

"We have to get into a better rhythm and do a better job of carrying practice over into the games." 

 

Against Sebastopol, quarterback Justin Williams hit Juwan Roberts for touchdown passes of 46 and 45 yards. Williams also scored on a 12-yard rushing touchdown. 

 

"There is a lot of region games left to be played," Brooks said. "I just want to see us get better each week. Hopefully, we can improve each week." 

 

East Oktibbeha won last season's meeting, 46-14. 

 

Nanih Waiya (0-3, 0-1) 

 

at West Oktibbeha (2-1, 0-0) 

 

West Oktibbeha looks to bounce back into the win column when it plays host to Nanih Waiya in its Class 1A, Region 3 opener. 

 

Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. Friday in Maben. 

 

"The kids are excited about getting a chance to play again," West Oktibbeha coach Adam Lowery said. "The region games are the ones that count the most. We are looking forward to getting our region play underway." 

 

West Oktibbeha saw its season-opening two-game win streak snapped with a 41-10 non-region loss at Eupora last Thursday night. 

 

After scoring 122 points in those two wins, the Timberwolves were held to one touchdown against Eupora. 

 

Winners of nine games a season ago, Nanih Waiya is winless. 

 

Nanih Waiya won last season's meeting, 50-14.

 

Scott is sports copy editor and reporter

 

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