Starkville Academy claims blowout win
The Starkville Academy Volunteers junior varsity squad rolled to a big victory over the Magnolia Heights School Chiefs at home on Thursday night, led by a stout defense and strong ground game.
The evening began with Magnolia Height's seventh grade team defeating the Volunteers 12-0, but the junior varsity game saw Starkville Academy win 42-0 behind three rushing scores for eight grade running back Tylor Latham.
Starkville Academy junior varsity head coach Sam Wright said following the performance he was proud of the effort Latham put forth and called his running back “a true blessing.”
“You ought to see the intensity in his eyes, he says ‘coach give it to me, I'm not going to let you down,' and he does that,” Wright said. “He tells me that every day in practice and like I tell him, he's an animal, but Tyler is a type of kid that God has blessed that's going to go far in life.”
Latham scored the first points of the game with a 32-yard touchdown scamper with 3:53 left in the first quarter.
The Volunteers exploded behind Latham for 28 points in the second quarter alone.
The lead was extended for Starkville Academy on the following drive with a 40-yard touchdown pass from Jack Hevesy to Cole Gonzales to put the Volunteers up 14-0 following a John Dylan Miller extra point.
Miller proved special for the home team for the evening, going 6 of 6 on extra point attempts.
Latham found he end zone for the second time in the first half with a 10-yard touchdown run and followed it up with another 5-yard scoring run with less than a minute to go in the first half.
Despite the offensive firepower with its star running back, the Volunteers also capitalized on the defensive side of the football to close out the first half. With less than 10 seconds to go before halftime, Gonzales recovered a fumble and returned it 45 yards for a score to give the Volunteers a 35-0 lead going into the locker room.
Hevesy made plays with both his arm and legs during the game, but scored the only points of the second half on defense with a 35-yard interception return for a touchdown to drive the nail for the home team.
Wright said the shutout was something his team's defense has worked toward this season and praised assistant coach David Butler for getting the team prepared.
“Coach David Butler has had that defense rolling all year and I can't be more happy for coach Butler and what he has done for this team and the guys that are ready for the next step,” Wright said. “If we keep this thing going, things will be great for us.”
The Volunteers (3-1) will face Canton Academy next week, which Wright said will be another test as his team gets into the meat of their schedule.
“We got a big game next week and with it coming up with Canton, we have to play with the same kind of intensity and I challenge them every day in certain aspects in football and life in general,” Wright said. “Even in a blowout like that, I want the guys to learn certain things and they did. We took each step, (and) each thing we asked them to do, they did.”
Starkville Academy junior varsity football coach Sam Wright talks to his team following a 42-0 victory over Magnolia Heights School on Thursday