Starkville Academy football coach Jeff Terrill wants his team to focus on playing the best it can against Leake Academy tonight. (Photo by Kim Murrell, SDN)
The Starkville Academy football team is not where it excepted to be three games into the season.
Tonight the Volunteers (1-2) take on the Leake Academy Rebels (2-1) at home. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
Many look at this game and see it as a huge one for SA. For head coach Jeff Terrill and the rest of the Vols, it's just another game and they are approaching it the same way they approach any game.
"I don't ever look at things like that because we are trying to put too much into one football game," Terrill said. "It certainly will do a lot of good to win a game, but our kids are still working hard. We are focused on Leake and Leake only."
The Rebels are coming off back-to-back wins in which they put up 50 points in both games. They beat Immanuel 50-12 two weeks ago and took care of Kirk Academy 53-20 a week ago.
The Vols are coming off two losses. They lost 19-5 to rival Heritage Academy two weeks ago at home and lost a heartbreaker on the road to Magnolia Heights 25-14.
"We have to find ourselves," Terrill said. "We certainly give a lot of credit to both Heritage and Mag Heights. Both of them played really good football. We really feel like the biggest problem has been ourselves. At times, (we've had) lack of effort and certainly making some crucial mistakes that have caused penalties, missed assignments or turnovers. We have to correct that before anything."
The offense hasn't lived up to the preseason hype yet. Terrill credits that to not being mentally focused leading to mistakes.
"It can be really exciting if we stop making those critical errors," Terrill said. "It's hard for any offense to do well when there are flags on the ground and balls on the ground."
The Volunteer defense has given SA chances to win, but Terrill thinks there is more they can do.
"We have to do a better job of stopping the run," Terrill said. "I thought we looked well in game one, but we didn't respond as well against Heritage. At Mag Heights, we played well at times, but other times we just didn't tackle well and (didn't) run to the ball. It's just back to the fundamentals and getting hats to the ball and tackling well."
SA had a chance to beat Magnolia Heights last week. The Vols held a 14-12 at halftime, but mistakes led to a second half comeback by the Rebels.
This week Terrill wants his team to play a complete four quarters.
"You have to do the something in the second half that you did in the first half that got you in that position," Terrill said.
Volunteer offensive linemen Cole Phelps is doubtful for the game due to an injury.
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