Gautier’s Kaden Irving receives U.S Army Bowl jersey

Less then a week after signing a National Letter of Intent to play baseball with Ole Miss, Kaden Irving was the man of the hour at his very own U.S. Army Bowl pep rally as the first-ever Gautier football player to receive an All-American jersey. “I was very shocked because I get overlooked a lot in a lot of stuff, but very shocked for this opportunity. But I’m happy because I know I need to be there.”

Irving may not have a high school football recruiting page on ESPN or 24/7 Sports or any Power 5 offers for that matter, but rest assured, he is one of the best players in the country and thanks to U.S. Army Bowl Scout Joe Ray, secret’s out.

“Now I get baseball may be front and center, but we hope on December 17th when he takes the field, he shows the world that he is the number one quarterback in the country because a lot our scouts believe that’s the case, and now we have a place to show that world that ability.”

“He hit me up early, and was just telling me that it was a thought and that he was going to push hard for me, and he said everything was going to work out, just keep doing our thing. Next two weeks, I had back-to-back eight touchdown games, and it just shows how God was working.”

Those 16 touchdowns part of a much bigger stat line for the state’s leading passer who’s thrown for more than 3,400 yards and 41 touchdowns to just three picks while also leading his team in rushing with more than 400 yards and 16 more scores on the ground.

For his varsity career, he’s one of a very select few in the Magnolia State to eclipse 10,000 yards and 100 touchdowns through the air. “It’s a lot of hard work, a lot of sacrifices. You have to make some decisions that normal teenagers can make and you can’t, but you’ve just got to do the little things to separate yourself.”

Hard work paying off, not just for Irving, but for the second-round bound Gators, fresh off their first playoff win in 17 years. “Me, Gautier, we get overlooked in a lot of things, and we have that Gautier versus everyone mentality. Even though this year everything is going good, we have a lot of success, we’re still keeping that underdog mentality. That’s all we’ve done our whole lives. That’s why we’re so hungry.”

“(Can you talk about the moment you put the jersey on, what did that feel like?) “It felt great. A little snug, but hey, it’s definitely a great moment. I couldn’t be more happy and excited for it.”

Dowdell and Irving still have plenty of work to do with Picayune hosting West Jones and Gautier hosting Vancleave, both in the second round in the 5A playoffs.

With a pair of wins, they would meet for a second time this month in the South State championship game.

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