Linebacker play has been strong area for Vols
Strong linebacker play helps when going against a quality opponent like the Magnolia Heights School Chiefs.
That's what Starkville Academy football coach Chase Nicholson believes he has in Will Miller, Campbell Spivey, Howell Archer and Willie Latham.
Every week, it has been one of those linebackers that has led the Volunteers in tackles during a game.
Miller hit the 50-tackle mark after getting eight against East Webster last week and he gives credit to defensive coordinator Brad Butler for the success.
“It helps when coach Butler gets us all in order,” Miller said. “He really prepares us for the week to come and that helps us go wide open. Everyone makes the right fits and everything lines up.”
Along with Miller's production, Spivey has 48 tackles, Archer has 40 stops and Latham adds 39 tackles.
Miller knows it's going to take another good effort out of the linebacker group to be able to defeat Magnolia Heights.
The Chiefs have a 2-2 record, but Miller anticipates them to be a difficult test on the road. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. in Senatobia.
“They are going to be a great team,” Miller
said “We're going to have to be aggressive and more aggressive than they are. They have some big players on the offensive line.”
Nicholson likes seeing the different linebackers step up each week to lead Starkville Academy.
If the Vols can keep opponents guessing, then Nicholson said everyone is doing
their job well.
“If your mike linebacker is making all the tackles, then the other people are not doing their job,” Nicholson said. “(It's the same) if your outside linebackers are making al the tackles, but it's different every week. That means teams are trying to attack us differently and these people are stepping up and making plays. Every week it's something different. That means our opponents are trying to find a weakness and can't find one, which is a good thing for us.”
Starkville Academy also has plenty of playmakers on offense and it starts with Noah Methvin and Ben Owens at quarterback. Both have enjoyed success at different points of the season so far.
Owens has completed 29of-62 pass attempts for 411 yards and five touchdowns with 22 carries for 114 yards rushing and two more scores. Methvin has completed 11of-18 pass attempts for 147 yards and two touchdowns with 17 attempts on the ground for 81 yards and three touchdowns.
Taylor Arnold leads the Vols in rushing with 48 carries for 355 yards and two touchdowns, while Raegan Richardson has the best numbers in the receiving department with 17 catches for 229 yards and two touchdowns.
All of that looks pretty impressive to Magnolia Heights coach Cliff Young.
“They've got a nice football team,” Young said. “They run downhill on both sides of the football.”
Starkville Academy has won three out of four games to start the season and opens District 2-AAA play next week against Winston Academy at home.
Nicholson wants momentum to build from one week to the next and for the Vols learn and to continue to grow.
“You keep moving forward from week to week.” Nicholson said. “We want to take what we've learned the past four weeks and put it toward this game. We're preparing for the future, but we take it one week at a time and it's Mag. Heights week. As far as we're concerned, we're 0-0. That's the mentality the guys have and that's what we'll continue to do.”