Smith on Sports: Vols enjoy title, but must have short memory

Danny P. Smith

Sports Editor

Winning a Class AAA State championship was a great moment for the Starkville Academy football program last year.

As much as the Volunteers love thinking back to that special time of defeating Indianola Academy and accepting the state title trophy in the midst of a monsoon rain storm in late November, it’s time to move on to the next season.

It was something that Starkville Academy head football coach Chase Nicholson did not long after the state championship had been achieved.

The Vols received their state championship rings earlier and then went back to work so the players that return can be fitted for more.

Nicholson knows that what happened last year, as good as Starkville Academy was, will not help it when practice begins later this month, at the jamboree in Noxapater on August 10, or when the regular season opens on August 17 at Lamar School.

“You can’t live off anything from last year,” Nicholson said Tuesday at the school’s annual media and picture day. “It’s a whole new year. Our path will not be the same. Our goal is the same, but the path to get there will not be the same. It’s a new year, a different team and new look.”

Nicholson doesn’t want the Vols to forget the state championship season because in his words “it’s impossible.” There will be a trophy in the case that will serve as a constant reminder of what Starkville Academy accomplished.

There will be more hardware to pursue this year and the Vols will definitely have a different look.

Gone is the successful two-headed monster in Noah Methvin and Ben Owens, who made the two-quarterback system work as well as it has anywhere. There are also some missing pieces on defense, especially Kyle Faver, who was a factor in the state championship game.

That’s just the way it is in high school athletics. Talented players come and go and coaches are left adjusting with the personnel they have back.

Nicholson understands this better than most. He loves to teach the game of football and figuring out ways to make his team the best it can be.

“That’s high school football and the excitement of everything,” Nicholson said. “If we can be successful again, then we did it the right way in a new way. I think these guys have bought into that.”

Anticipation was evident at Starkville Academy on Tuesday for the sports that begin in just a few days. Softball has a game scheduled at Oak Hill Academy on July 30, while the soccer season begins one day later at Magnolia Heights.

There were smiles for the camera obviously for picture day, but the Vols have quite a bit to be happy about with their athletic year just around the corner.

Danny P. Smith is the sports editor and columnist for The Starkville Daily News. The opinions in this column are his and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SDN or its staff.