Starkville Academy's Owens fulfills dream, signs with Belhaven

Starkville Academy's Ben Owens, seated middle, with his family and coach Chase Nicholson
Staff Writer

It takes a special team of special players buying in to a single goal to do what Starkville Academy was able to accomplish in football last season.

The Volunteers battled injuries and other adversity on its way to the MAIS Division 2-AAA State championship and quarterback Ben Owens was right in the middle of it all.

It was just a season earlier that Owens was competing for the starting quarterback position at Starkville High School. He left for a better opportunity just across the street at Starkville Academy, but nothing was promised to him. Coach Chase Nicholson with the Vols made it clear to Owens that he would battle for a starting spot with Noah Methvin. He took the challenge.

“During the season, it’s not about you," Owens said. "It’s about what’s best for your team. Me and Noah were friends even before I came to Starkville Academy and we were on the same page. We’re going to do what it takes to win and we don’t care what that means. We both had our specialties.”

Owens split time with Methvin at quarterback through the summer and into the first part of the season but ultimately won the quarterback job. That was until he went down with a knee injury in the middle of the season and was sidelined for several weeks.

During that time, he encouraged Methvin from the sidelines and worked to get better in the film room. He came back and helped the Vols to a state title and on Wednesday signed with the Belhaven Blazers to continue his career.

“Even through the injuries, it shows who Ben Owens is,” Nicholson said. “I remember seeing him face to face when we met and he loved high school football. He trusted me the whole way and knew that it would all work out. It was a storybook season for him. I told him before the season that I didn’t know what would happen, but I knew we would have an experience that we would talk about 30 years from now.”

That experience now leads him to Belhaven where he could have never imagined he would have been. That’s despite the dream to play on the next level.

Now that it’s reality, Owens couldn’t help but smile.

“If you asked me what I wanted to do for the rest of my life as a kindergartener, it was to play college football,” Owens said. “It means everything to me. I thank God for it and a lot of people have sacrificed a lot for it. I’m glad that it worked out the way it did.

“It turned into being a God thing. I got a call from Belhaven two weeks ago and they saw my film and wanted me to come play for them. It was a huge sigh of relief.”

Owens doesn’t regret the things that have happened in his past to get to where he is now. He doesn’t regret his experience at Starkville High School and he certainly doesn’t regret making the change in his senior year. He doesn’t regret an injury that made him a strong person in the end.

Everything worked out for Owens as it should. For certain, Starkville Academy is where he felt he was meant to be all along and he’ll continue to rep the Vols even from Jackson.

“I can’t ask for anything better from the teachers and coaches,” Owens said. “There are really good people over here who accepted me with open arms and it really means a lot to me to be here my senior year.”