News 25’s 25 Teams in 25 Days: St. Stanislaus Rock-a-Chaws
St. Stanislaus is stop number three on News 25’s 25 Teams in 25 Days where the Rock-a-Chaws are still getting used to their new 3A lifestyle which, as it turns out, isn’t all that different from their life in class 4A.
Quarterback Alex Fabra said, “For Myles and their senior year, we were in eighth grade and we looked up to them. And ever since that, we’ve been trying to live up to that name and that legacy. Some of us are younger siblings to them, and we just want to ball out.”
Year after year, St. Stanislaus has a friendly way of reminding the next generation of Rock-a-Chaws that the standard is the standard. Linebacker Ryan Tyler said, “2009. One team, one heartbeat. That was the logo and they won the state championship.”
Running back/ defensive back Davien Lagarde said, “We think about it all the time, because it’s on our backs that carry that tradition out, win a championship every time we touch the field. We’re aiming for bigger things. And we’re not just aiming for this game, but we’re aiming for the next game too.”
SSC now 12 years removed from its last and only state championship and another six years separated from its last south state title, but the Rocks are still rock solid, having gone .500 or better in eight straight regular seasons with eight consecutive playoff appearances. Head Coach Nate Encrapera said, “I think the work ethic is the same. I think that passing of the torch mentality. I think we had a great group of seniors last year that led by some good examples. Those guys that are seniors this year feel obligated to pass that on.”
But football is a numbers game and the Rocks only have eight seniors on this year’s roster down from their 15-member class of 2021. They return about the same number of starts from a team that went 6-3 overall with a first-round playoff exit at the hands of North Pike. “Okay, we lost a lot of players but we also gained a lot too. We have more knowledge, we have more knowledge of the game, but we also have younger players coming up that are willing to play their best for that spot, so we’re going to help them out. We’re going to get them right. And we’re going to come out and do our best. It’s Rock-a-Chaw football.”
Perhaps the biggest change for the Rocks this year, a life outside of class 4A for the first time since the 1980s. They’ll have some new roomates as a part of region 8 3A, joining another newcomer in St. Patrick as the only two schools in the district from the six coastal counties. “Every Sunday we show up, we’re 0-0. We’re going to get on the film.”
“What goes into that is film, film study. We’ve got to watch film. We’ve got to stay in constant film because we’ve never played any of these teams before.”
“I am going to miss being in 4A and compete in that district with Bay and Pass and Vancleave, just kind of what I’ve always done, but we can adapt to this 3A ball, and hopefully we win.”
Alex Fabra opens the season as SSC’s third starting quarterback in as many years running a multiple offense to compliment a stop-the-run-first defense. “I take a lot of pride in it. Myles, Dylan Favre. It’s nice being able to be under that same system, being the tradition, and I hope I can live up to the name this year.”
When it comes to off-the-field preparation, the Stanislaus scheme is all about turning the page. “The book we’re reading this year is Guidelines for the Leader and Commander. It’s General Bruce Clarke’s book. So, it’s trying to get those guys through – you have expectations for your leaders, but I tell the kids all the time, if you want to be a good leader, you’ve got to be a good follower.”
“Yeah, we had to read a book. But the book was helpful because it explained things that we have to do for our brothers. People that have our back, and that we need to have their back also.”
“Again, in five years, I’ve seen more players this year do extra stuff outside of our one-hour workout and our one-hour field time than any other year I’ve been here. It’s like what did you do this weekend? Oh, I was at Top Guns Gym. Oh, what did you do? Oh, I swam and ran the beach. It’s like everybody is getting better outside, and it’s amazing seeing it all come together.”
The Rock-a-Chaws open up the season a month from tomorrow at home against D’Iberville.