September 3, 2013 10:59:18 PM
STARKVILLE -- Starkville Academy football coach Jeff Terrill felt like his squad would be a good football team this season.
Now, the veteran coach can show his players the tape and they too can see for themselves that potential does abound.
Fresh off a solid 28-7 victory over East Rankin Academy, Starkville Academy now turns its thoughts to the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools Class AAA, District 1 opener Friday night against Washington School.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. in Greenville.
"Anytime you win a football game, you build some confidence," Terrill said. "These kids were needing something good to happen. Now, you go back to practice with a better attitude and you feel like you are capable of making things happen.
"The first win is a good starting point. I think we have a chance to really put some things together now."
The Volunteers did not score a touchdown in its season-opening 35-3 loss at Lamar School.
When quarterback Houston Clark took off on a 62-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, the floodgates opened for the Volunteers.
That scored pushed the Volunteers into a 7-7 halftime tie.
In the second half, the defense pitched a shutout and even scored a touchdown of its own with an interception return by Hunter Peeples.
"(The interception return) was the big play in the ballgame, it gave us some breathing room," Terrill said. "The defense played lights out in the second half. East Rankin had success against us last year (in a 34-29 win). I thought the defense played a much different game this time around."
Clark is a sophomore making strides in his first couple of high school starts.
"It has been a learning experience but I feel like it is getting better each day," Clark said. "The offensive line improving each day in practice, too. It seems like we are beginning to get into a rhythm. We are learning how to put things together."
The Volunteers dominated at the point of attack in Friday night's win.
Starkville Academy ran the ball 33 times for 254 yards. Grant Wolfe ran 21 times for 144 yards and scored the put-away touchdown in the fourth quarter.
"The performance of the offensive line in the second half when the game was on the line was outstanding," Terrill said.
Wolfe has now run for a team-high 233 yards through two games.
Colt Chrestman and Kirby Cox lead the team in defensively with 12 and 10 total tackles respectively.
The Volunteers have forced five takeaways in two games, including two interceptions by Peeples.
Greenville Washington enters the game at 1-0, after a 35-7 victory over Leake Academy.
Last season, the Generals finished 6-4.
"Once again, they have been one of the powers," Terrill said. "We will have to go up another notch to have a chance to win on the road."
Washington beat Starkville Academy 20-0 in the 2011 MAIS Class AAA, Division II final.
Scott is sports copy editor and reporter