BOONVILLE — After an emotional loss to Swaim County in the first round of the NCHSAA playoffs last season, the Starmount Rams are looking to get back on the field and improve on last season’s record. With a renewed passion, the Rams are looking to capture another MVAC title.
“Our main goal this season is to win the conference championship and we want to improve week-to-week on offense and defense,” said Head Coach Scott Johnson. “Of course we always want to go back to the State Championship.”
Two years ago the Rams made it to the NCHSAA State Championship where they went head-to-head with football power house, Wallace-Rose Hill. The Rams fell 34-21, but they kept their post-season momentum going into last season where they accomplished a 7-2 overall record and a 5-2 conference record. The Rams tied for first in the MVAC, and made it to the first round of the NCHSAA playoffs.
Along with the new season comes new players, new strategies and a younger group of athletes. Johnson is no stranger to rebuilding years as a head coach. He’s been the head coach at Starmount for 12 years and he doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon.
“We have a small senior class again this season, we have seven or eight this year. The kids are enjoyable and they do what they are supposed to do,” said Johnson. “We have a youthful team as the sophomores that we had last year are now juniors, but they are still growing into what they need to be. We usually have 12 to 16 seniors, so having two back-to-back small senior classes is a little strange.”
Offensively, the Rams are returning several key players who make a difference for the Rams on and off the field. Junior, Patrick Usher will be the starting quarterback this season. Last season he played a few games as a sophomore under Andrew Smythers, but this season he will be the main quarterback for the Rams and help carry the team to the playoffs. Senior, Henry Stone will help the Rams on offensive again this season, as last season he accumulated 108 receiving yards. Junior, Peyton Mullins also will be another athlete to keep an eye on this season on offense, last season he scored six touchdowns for the Rams.
Although Starmount is still strong on offense, it lost three of its leading rushers — Brandon Prescott, Trey Lomax and Andrew Smythers. This season Johnson knows he’ll have to improve the offensive line to get the MVAC title.
“This season we are looking to improve our offensive line with a few changes. We had a lot of sophomores on last season’s line so this season they are bigger and stronger,” said Johnson. “Our defensive line will also be improved from last season.”
The biggest question for the Rams will be leadership, but so far the team has come together to show support for one another before the season starts.
“The biggest thing about this group of kids is that they are a great group to be around,” said Johnson. “This group enjoys being with each other day in and day out. They are a tremendous group of kids to coach.”
Starmount opened up its season versus Mount Airy on Aug. 19, from there they will host East Surry on Aug. 26, then Forbush for the Unifi Bowl on Sept. 9. The Rams will be honoring past and present football players this season during each home game, as Starmount High School and the football program both turn 50-years old this year. At each home game there will be a variety of different members of the football team, cheerleading team, sideline volunteers, and announcers honored throughout the 2016-2017 season.
Kristian Russell may be reached at 336-258-4052.