Vols hungry despite tough losses
Two games into the season, Starkville Academy couldn't be any closer to a 2-0 start.
The Volunteers led Ackerman in overtime before dropping the opener 8-6.
SA took a 13-point lead into overtime against Lamar, led in the fourth quarter, but fell victim to a late score to lose 21-20.
Rather than being undefeated, the Vols head into today's home game against Heritage Academy winless.
First-year SA head coach Jeff Terrill says that, even after the two gut-wrenching defeats, his team is still hungry.
"We're just keeping our heads up and going to keep battling," said Terrill. "There's still a very positive attitude in the locker room. They realize the improvement that the team has made, and they all realized too, that we weren't just going to change things overnight. We've been disappointed in the losses, but we've still been giving good effort and we're heading in the right direction and the kids know it."
That optimism may help SA mentally tonight, but the Vols still must perform on the field if they hope to break through and record their first 'W'.
Terrill says it won't be an easy task getting the best of a Heritage Academy team led by former SA assistant Brad Butler.
"(Heritage) has a fine young coach with (Butler) and they have great team speed," said Terrill. "They're certainly a tremendous challenge for us."
The Patriots athleticism is what really stands out to Terrill.
"They've got several skilled athletes that can really run," said Terrill. "They have big-play capability in both the offense and kicking game. They started this season with a kickoff return for a touchdown against Oak Hill. So the biggest concern we have is trying to control that speed as best we can. Any team with speed is very, very dangerous."
With guys who can fly up and down the gridiron, Heritage would love nothing more than to keep SA chasing them all night.
However, Terrill has a plan to keep the Patriots' athletes in check.
"I don't think it's any secret, we'd like to get the ball on offense and run it and control it," said Terrill. "We'll try to keep (Heritage's) speed on the sidelines or at least playing defense."
Even with the athleticism and skill that the Patriots bring to Starkville, Terrill says he wouldn't have it any other way.
"It's Heritage," said Terrill. "Rivalry games are supposed to be fun. We're going to step up and take our best shot at them, that's for sure."
As the Vols battle the Patriots, one thing that bears watching is how SA responds if they get into a potential game-changing situation late.
With the memories of the last two weeks fresh in the heads of the Vols, Terrill has been preaching to his team that they do have what it takes to get over the hump.
"I think the hardest thing to do is to make that last play or get that last inch," said Terrill. "We can't hide the past. One of the big differences last week was Lamar was used to winning. When it got to the fourth quarter, they expected to win, and maybe a little voice in the back of our kid's minds didn't.
"We just have to keep believing in each other and somebody has to step up and make a play in the fourth quarter."