Spring football wrapup: Starkville Academy

Taylor Arnold
Staff Writer

Coach Chase Nicholson and his Starkville Academy football team banded together last spring with the goal of winning a state championship.

The Volunteers were not on the radar of the rest of the state in MAIS Division 2-AAA but they liked that. They played with a chip on their shoulder from spring training to summer workouts, fall camp, the first kickoff and into November. When Kyle Faver caught a touchdown pass in overtime to knock off favorite Indianola Academy, that journey was culminated with a trophy.

Now, the cycle starts over again.

There are pieces to replace on the offensive and defensive line with players like Faver, who have moved on, but the Vols have a whole crew of players ready to go. They also have to replace two quarterbacks as Noah Methvin and Ben Owens were a big reason for SA’s success. They made nearly every spring practice this year helping the next group along.

“The great thing is they leave a legacy and the lasting impression that they’ve had on a Garrett Lewis or a Taylor Arnold that will be one of your quarterbacks," Nicholson said. "They continue to teach. You’ll never lose a Ben Owens or Noah Methvin because of the impact they’ve had.”

Arnold was a 1,000-yard rusher a season ago and a critical piece of the offense returning. Lewis also appears to be destined for big things under Nicholson who has had much experience developing quarterbacks for his system.

If Lewis can lock down the quarterback position and have Arnold as his back in the offensive arsenal, the SA offense will be a dangerous one yet again.

“Garrett hasn’t been able to practice much since he was so beat up from baseball, but mentally he’s been there,” Nicholson said. “He’s been getting reads and talking to Taylor (Arnold) as he’s working through it. He’s stepping into that role of what he should be. He’s got to find his own path.”

The plus side of the SA athletics department is that the athletes’ versatility allows them to play multiple position as well as excel at multiple sports.

Arnold and Lewis just finished off a baseball season on the mound into the playoffs and many others either went straight to basketball from the football state championship or rested. The receipt that the players’ bodies took from the championship run on the gridiron was pricy and it’s why Nicholson is looking into a way to better preserve the players’ bodies that take part in multiple sports.

“Rest is something that we look into in making sure that our guys are getting enough,” Nicholson said. “When you look at how long football season went and how long basketball and baseball was, it really hasn’t stopped. Are we resting enough during sports? I think our coaches are doing a good job of that, but we have to continue to look at that.”

Though weight workouts will go into full force soon, bodies should be plenty rested before the start of fall camp. Before long, the Vols will be on J.E. Logan Field defending a state title and going for another one.

That journey all starts in the spring where Nicholson counted all things a success.

“We’ve had a great spring,” Nicholson said. “We actually started a week before baseball ended so the young guys that were done got to come get work. Their bodies have changed since last season. I’m very pleased with the young guys that have gone to work. All the guys are really excited to get going and the great thing is we don’t play until August and we’ve got a lot of time to continue to grow and get better.”

(Editor's Note: This is the first part of a series highlighting area high school football teams as they come out of spring practice and go into summer conditioning.)