August 27, 2010 10:07:00 AM
STARKVILLE -- Belief is an armor and Starkville Academy''s painful loss to Ackerman has only strengthened the Volunteers'' assurance they''re a better team.
Losing to the Indians on a fourth-down play was heartbreaking as was losing in overtime to a team that ran roughshod over the Volunteers on their home field the previous season.
But there''s no substitute for matching another team''s intensity on the road in the first game of the season. For Starkville Academy coach Jeff Terrill that is exactly what he needed to see in his debut last week.
Now, the follow up to last week''s physically and emotionally taxing affair is to beat Lamar School in the home opener.
The Raiders (0-1), however, were the second of five straight teams to hang 40 points or more on the Volunteers last season. The Vols (0-1) haven''t beaten the Raiders since the series renewed after a one-year hiatus in 2006.
Just one week into the season, Terrill has seen a shift in the team''s confidence to compete.
"I still think they understand they gave great effort and were proud of it," Terrill said. "I think the biggest concern is until you get into the fire of the game, you just want to know your kids are going to compete when things are tough. They certainly proved that."
Outside of quarterback Kyle Henson''s touchdown pass in overtime, the Volunteers struggled to generate offense against the Indians and finished with just four first downs. And though the team showed marked improvement defensively, Terrill is hopeful the offense will catch fire tonight.
The Starkville Academy coaching staff has identified its playmakers but is lacking execution, Terrill said. The first-year Vols coach also attributes the his team''s lack of offense last week to fatigue as many players featured on both sides of the ball.
"We want to get kids playing faster and executing better, but last week I think we got outnumbered," Terrill said. "We didn''t have the energy when we got the ball in our hands. Then you have a lot of those same guys playing more defensive snaps.
"It''s a great concern for us."
Ball control, among other things, will help ease the burden of a moderately thin roster and multiple two-way players, Terrill said.
And with Lamar''s efficient, spread passing game, an onus will be put on fitness as linebackers and secondary players cover more distance in defending Lamar''s offense.
"Lamar will take the dinks and dunks you give them and they are very patient with their offense," Terrill said. "They''re also real timely with when they take their shots down the field. For us to be successful, we have to match them with execution.
"We also have to be better in the kicking game and catch the ball better on offense."
1. MSU women beat No. 17 West Virginia COLLEGE SPORTS
2. 5 for Inside for Vanderbilt-Mississippi State COLLEGE SPORTS
3. Skinner's big shots pushes Starkville past West Point HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
4. MSU focused on Vanderbilt COLLEGE SPORTS
5. West Point gets second chance vs. Oxford HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS