Starkville Academy's first four football games of the season have been on and up and down scale.
The Volunteers get somewhat of a fresh start tonight as they begin division play against Hillcrest Christian. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
The Volunteers beat the Cougars 42-8 last season in Jackson.
"It's the opening of division play and regardless of their circumstances, it's a big game," SA head coach Jeff Terrill said. "It gets us the right kind of win (to start the division). A football team either gets better or it gets worse. It doesn't stay the same. We are putting an emphasis on us hanging on to that momentum and continuing to play better."
The Vols (2-2) are coming off a much needed 45-0 win against Leake Academy last week. They had lost their previous two games entering last week and finally found a spark on offense and the defense played close to perfect.
That win might be a spring board for Terrill's squad. He hopes SA can use it as motivation against an Hillcrest team that has yet to win this season (0-4).
"It was a good win for us and a big win," Terrill said. "The kids played better and that's the biggest point of motivation going on."
The Vols made huge plays on special teams last week by recovering two fumbles on back-to-back kickoffs to put some separation between them and Leake.
"We always try to put a big emphasis on (special teams)," Terrill said. "There's a lot of hidden yards in the kicking game."
Colby Runnels and Drew Pellum finally got clicking on offense. Runnels found the end zone twice on the ground and Pellum threw for two touchdowns.
If SA is going to compete for a division title it's going to start with Pellum and Runnels on offense.
The Vols did not turn the ball over last week and that is something Terrill wants his team to do every week.
"If we execute and we protect the ball good things can happen," Terrill said.
SA's defense was in shut down mode last week. That type of play can motivate the defense to work harder every week.
"The biggest thing is, the kids see they are getting better on that side of the ball," Terrill said. "It encourages them to work harder."