St. Martin Yellowjackets seeking first playoff berth since 2003
Life is different for St. Martin football in 2017 without the likes of division I talents Wayne Overman III and Kalem Reddix, but not in a bad way. The Yellowjackets won their first game of the season on Friday which is a step in the right direction towards ending their playoff drought, dating back to pre-Katrina.
“Obviously in the past couple years we’ve had a lot of playmakers, especially offensively with Overman, Reddix and Polk and some of those guys that are all playing at the next level. So obviously people recognize their names, and obviously they were talented kids.” St. Martin has some talented kids back this season, four of which already have offers to play at the next level, but the team is no longer defined by big name recognition. Head Coach Eddie Wayne Whitehead said, “The number one thing is staying together and working as a group, working as a team. As long as you stay together you can accomplish a lot, so that’s one of the things that we’re trying to stress.”
Middle Linebacker Keni Williams said, “I don’t feel like it’s focused on just one person and that’s what we need. We need just people focused on the team.”
Chemistry will be important for the Yellowjackets as the year progresses after replacing nine starters on defense and another five on offense. On top of that, St. Martin doesn’t have a single senior playing first string on either side of the ball. So will the class of 2019 please stand up? “We ain’t got as much talent but if we play as a team, teamwork beats talent any day. And that’s what we look to play as,” said Williams.
Quarterback/ Running Back Mileon Graham said, “We’re trying to go all the way, we’re trying to win a championship this year. We didn’t have the chance to win it last year, so this year I’m the leader this year, so yeah. It’s my job to take us all the way.”
Going all the way starts with a return trip to the post-season, a place the Yellowjackets haven’t been since 2003, just a couple of years after this year’s junior class was even born. “We’re having to prove a lot, you know? We’ve got to prove that we’re good enough to play football, good enough to make it to the playoffs. A lot to prove.”
“Just keeping our heads straight, our attitude and keeping the intensity and not be satisfied with this one game we had. Through the whole season we’ve got to keep going hard.”
“Really for the last three years we’ve missed the playoffs by a point or two here or there and two years ago we’re probably three points away from being the district champs and still we were sitting at home, so that’s a big deal. So obviously getting to the playoffs this year would be something we’re striving for.”
St. Martin returns to action with a home game versus Tylertown at 7 p.m. on Friday.