OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - For the second straight year, the Saint Martin football team has clinched a playoff spot - something that’s never been done in program history. The team’s victory last Friday was even better as they not only clinched a playoff birth on the last night of the regular season, but it was against their long time rival D’iberville, ending a 15-year curse of falling to the Warriors.
“We wasn’t going to have another chance of playing a high school game," senior quarterback Mileon Graham said. "Everybody knew what was at stake so we had to get the job done.”
“I saw a lot of unity," senior offensive tackle and Mississippi State commit Brandon Cunningham said. "Like I saw everybody playing together last Friday. Before that like games we’ll have fights and stuff like that, but last Friday I saw a lot of brotherhood.”
“My little daughter, she was so happy Friday night," head coach Eddie Whitehead said. "Sunday she woke up and said daddy it don’t feel like, you know, it’s as big as what it is because now we’re getting ready for a bigger challenge.”
The challenge of winning in the postseason. Saint Martin was humbled by Pearl in 2017, falling 55-14 in a first round exit. Now in 2018, they’re looking to exploit any possible mismatches they can find as they take on an 11-1 Brandon team to begin postseason play Friday.
“Their defense flows to the ball very well, so we’re going to try to mix in a little misdirection," Graham said. "Try to make them flow this way and come back to the other way.”
“They’re not the biggest team, but they got good size," Whitehead said. "They’ve got one of the best receivers in the state. Mingo is committed to Ole Miss and the running back weighs about 230 pounds. It’s going to be a little intimidating going in there.”
Whatever the outcome ends up being Friday, a win over D’iberville and being consistently in the playoffs is just the tip of the iceberg for the Yellow Jackets.
“We want to be the team that’s on top. We don’t want to settle for fourth place, " Whitehead said. "You want to be the number one seed and have somebody coming to your place. That’s what we’re striving for.”
“We’re just trying to be great, basically," Cunningham said. "Like we talked about earlier, we’re trying to do the unordinary. No team ever from Saint Martin went to the playoffs back-to-back and we’re just trying to go further.”
Saint Martin travel to face Brandon in the first round of the 6A playoffs Friday at 7 p.m.