Monday Morning Quarterback: ACCS 32, Starkville Academy 13

Robbie Faulk

Staff Writer

It was a little over a year ago when the rain began to fall at Jackson Academy just shortly after Kyle Faver’s touchdown catch and impending goal-line stand that led Starkville Academy to a state championship.

It was a celebration unlike any other for the Volunteers as tears flowed and parents and fans stood happily in the rain with jubilant spirits. Tears were flowing again last Friday night as the Vols’ season came to a close, but the joy was nowhere to be found.

Every dog has his day, the old saying goes, and the Adams County Christian Rebels had their moment on Friday in a 32-13, a year after Starkville Academy had ended its hopes on the J.E. Logan Field grass. This group was bigger, stronger and faster and it looked every bit a contender to supplant the Vols as the top team in AAA.

The situation that led the Rebels to Starkville this year was a strange one. Their official record stood at 4-7 coming into the game, but they have yet to lose a game on the field this season. ACCS had to forfeit the first seven games of the season for playing illegal players, but still managed to slip into the playoffs due to power points as the No. 14 seed out of 16 teams. That slip into the playoffs was all that the Rebels needed because they have one of the most talented rosters in the state.

There wasn’t much scheming to be done in this one. Most of the game plan was built around the ultra-talented wide receivers as the quarterback threw football after football down the field into coverage and the athletes went to make the plays. Ben Guest and Sam Clark were often in position and had a couple of nice plays on the ball. In the end, though, ACCS was just too good.

With all of that talent and charisma though, the Rebels were getting beat in the third quarter on plain heart.

The Vols had every reason to lay down after the first half. They had a couple of missed chances haunt them and they fell behind 20-0 at the break. No one ever seemed to waiver, however. Starkville Academy started hitting big plays and the defense continued to do what it always does and shift momentum in the game.

Before we all knew it, the Vols were only down 20-13 in the fourth quarter and sitting on the 5-yard-line after hitting a 50-yard pass play. It seems almost as if destiny was swinging the way of Starkville Academy. That was until a pass into the end zone was knocked down and the short kick was missed. The Rebels took over from there and the Vols’ season ended at 9-3.

It was a disappointing last part of the season as Starkville Academy lost three of the final four games including the final two District 2-AAA games against Heritage Academy and Leake Academy. As head coach Chase Nicholson said, though, the Vols far exceeded expectations after losing huge pieces of last year’s team that also accomplished much more than many people imagined they would.   

“Nobody would have thought we would have been 8-0 going into the last two games and make it to the second round of the playoffs,” Nicholson said. “The underclassmen and seniors stepped up to fill the voids and held the tradition that has been set for years.”

In many ways, Starkville Academy's team this year followed the lead of those ahead of it very well. The Vols were out-manned on Friday and they missed some chances that could have swung the game, but there was no quit in this team and it showed in their emotions following the game just how much they had left on the field.

A talented group is heading out of the door after the season has concluded but the cupboard is not bare. Another group is ready to move into those shoes at Starkville Academy and write its story.
Best believe that next year's roster of players will be ready to fight again as most true Volunteers do.

Robbie Faulk is the high school writer for The Starkville Daily News. The opinions in this column are Faulk's and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SDN or its staff.