The Starkville Academy Volunteers didn't leave many doubts early that they would be improving their record to 3-2 for the season.
Starkville Academy scored early and often as it crushed Hillcrest Christian Academy 42-0 to open conference play.
The Volunteers marched the ball down the field on their opening possession of the evening resulting in a Blake Slaughter scoring run of 3 yards and never looked back.
Starkville Academy returned its offensive back onto the field quickly and Michael Miller had a 5-yard dash to build the lead to 14-0 over the visitors from Jackson.
On the first play of the second quarter, the lead was pushed to 21-0 when Slaughter returned to the end zone from 17 yards out.
“We really don’t have that many guys returning from last year," SA offensive coordinator Chase Nicholson said. "They are just growing up right in front of us. We are still a young team but we have just grown up each week. We’ve said all along that we are going to get better each and every week and we have.”
The Volunteers returned to the end zone with a Colby Runnels 8-yard run and was quickly followed by an 18-yard toss from Drew Pellum to Hunter Bolin to push the lead to 35-0 at the half.
“Really right now, we are just protecting the football,” Nicholson said. “We struggled with that the first two games. Over the last two games, we really haven’t put the ball on the field and our penalties are down.”
For the game, SA rushed the ball 30 times for 191 yards while Pellum was a perfect 4-for-4 for 108 yards and a score.
The defense wouldn’t be outdone as they held Hillcrest to 25 yards rushing on 23 carries. It also help the visitors to a 5-for-8 with a zero-yard effort through the air.
“Each week we are focused on our opponent, but we are really focused on ourselves,” said Nicholson. “We have to get better at the little things and the big things will take care of itself.”
The Volunteers remain at home next Friday as they will host Jackson Prep at J.E. Logan Field.