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As the Starkville Academy defense gets ready for tonight's home showdown with Winston Academy, it would do well to flash back to August 27.
On that night, the Volunteers battled Lamar School. Though SA came up a point short, falling 21-20, they gained valuable experience against a spread offense.
That could bode well tonight as head coach Jeff Terrill's crew prepares for Winston's five-wide offensive attack.
"It's the crave of the times right now," said Terrill of the spread. "But (Winston) does a good job of it. They've got a good quarterback, good skilled athletes, it'll definitely be a challenge."
Even having already faced a school with a similar-styled offensive attack, Terrill says it will still be an adjustment for his team to defend against a team that throws the ball as much as Winston, who according to Patriots coach Harold Wisdom, passes in the neighborhood of 30 times per game.
Conversely, Terrill believes his team isn't the only one who'll have to get used to an offensive style.
"We're an option-oriented run team, so it's not something (our defense) sees everyday," said Terrill. "But hopefully, they'll have some struggles too because they are used to practicing against a spread team and they'll have to adjust to an option attack."
On offense, Terrill says there won't be many changes from what his team has done in past weeks. In keeping that consistency, SA's leader believes the Vols may be able to take advantage of an aggressive Winston defense.
"We just think our style is what's best for us," said Terrill. "But we'll be facing a good defense. (Winston) runs to the ball well, they're very reckless, and they blitz a good bit. So hopefully we can take advantage a few times if some people get out of position."
Coming into tonight's game, Terrill says his team is in a good place both physically and mentally. No players will be out due to injuries for SA, and there is still plenty of positive energy coming from last week's solid effort over Jackson Academy.
"Our guys are still determined and working hard," said Terrill. "They came out last week against a tremendous JA team, defending champions, and just stood out there and fought. We really came out of that experience gaining some confidence."
Only time will tell if the mental boost from last week will pay off in the win column.
"We don't try to play (our record) up," said Terrill. "We just keep looking at improvement and tell the guys that if they keep working like they are working, that 'W' will come."
Tonight's Homecoming game kicks off at 7 p.m.