STARKVILLE — Starkville Academy quarterback Randall Futral threw three touchdown passes during the first half Friday night, but to hear him tell it, his was not the critical role as the Volunteers rolled past Magnolia Heights 35-14.
“I have three really good receivers that are all over 6 feet tall, and they’re all athletic,” Futral said. “You put it anywhere around them, they can make plays.”
But Futral’s effusive praise for everyone around him didn’t stop there.
“The receivers ran great routes, I had good protection, we had good play calling,” the senior continued. “We just executed really well.”
The Vols picked a good week to do everything right, as both teams went into the game at 3-3, with the Chiefs at 1-1 in MAIS 5A-1 and the Vols at 0-1. And Starkville Academy wasted no time making a statement.
Futral connected with junior wideout Wyatt Johnson on a 35-yard scoring pass for a 7-0 lead before even 2 minutes of play had passed. The score remained throughout the first quarter, with both offenses sputtering after the initial strike, but the Volunteers were not kept down for long.
Starkville Academy caught fire during the second quarter, as Futral and his receiving corps linked up early. First came a 78-yard connection to junior Drew Williams on a slant route as Williams made just about the entire Magnolia Heights defense whiff for a 14-0 edge after senior kicker Dylan Miller’s extra point.
Next would be SA’s first rushing touchdown of the night, as junior Charlie Nicholas rushed into the end zone on a 3-yard play. Johnson and Futral connected one more time before the half, this time for 12 yards, to give Starkville Academy a commanding 28-0 lead heading into the locker rooms at halftime.
The Chiefs came out for the second half with some purpose, as they were the first to put up points after the break on a 23 yard touchdown pass. But SA answered with a drive capped by a 1-yard scoring run by senior Hayes Davis. That would be the last time the Volunteers reached the end zone, but it was all they needed.
Magnolia Heights managed to put up a last-minute touchdown on a 12-yard pass, but by then the damage was done.
The volunteers will try to carry their hot streak to Greenwood next week for another division game, this time against Pillow Academy. That game, as usual, will kick off at 7 p.m.
Starkville Academy 35, Magnolia Heights 14
Magnolia Heights (3-4) 0 0 7 7 — 14
Starkville Academy (4-3) 7 21 7 0 — 35
SA — Wyatt Johnson 35 pass from Randall Futral (Dylan Miller kick), 10:29
SA — Drew Williams 78 pass from Futral (Miller kick), 9:40
SA — Charlie Nicholas 3 run (Miller kick), 4:32
SA — Johnson 12 pass from Futral (Miller kick), :29
MH — Wailes Finke 23 pass from Gaston Harris (Parker Bright kick), 3:34
SA — Hayes Davis 1 run (Miller kick), 3:34
MH— Finke 12 pass from Harris (Bright kick), :24