ST. MARTIN, MS (WLOX) - You could say the St. Martin High School football team is in a rebuilding year, after losing so many quality offensive players from the 2016 team. The Yellow Jackets must fill some big shoes and that's exactly what they're doing in practice.
Due to graduation...Overman, Reddix, Williams and Walley are no longer members of the Yellow Jackets high octane offense. In 2016 the four seniors combined for 6,414 total yards of offense and 75 touchdowns.
St. Martin head coach Eddie Wayne Whitehead knows his offense will have a different look in 2017...sprinkled with young talent up and down the lineup.
Whitehead said, "I know a lot of people will probably be counting us out. We've got seven seniors on the team and possibly one of them will start."
Coach Whitehead says 5-10, 196 pound junior running back Ham McGee will be counted on to carry the load this year. In 2016 Ham rushed for 821 yards with 6 touchdowns and netted 7.5 yards a carry.
McGee will be running behind an experienced offensive line since most of the starters are back...highlighted by 6-foot, 250 pound center Ethan Anderson. Despite the loss of so many offensive weapons, he says the Yellow Jackets can make a run at the playoffs.
"I mean everyday we're practicing to make sure we get it this year., "said Anderson. "I mean from the way we're looking, it's always in our mind that we can get there. It's there, but we've got to work towards it everyday."
Coach Whitehead said, "We have good size upfront on the offensive line and they should be able to open some holes for our running game and that is really going to be key for us."
Jake Galle, a 6-2, 190 pound junior is vying for the starting role at quarterback. Mileon Graham, a 6-foot, 185 pound junior will also see playing time at quarterback, running back and safety. He had 100 tackles last season with 10 sacks.
Graham said, "I just think we've got a lot more heart of this team. More drive. I feel like the team has more chemistry and everything is going smooth. No arguing or nothing and everything is good."
6-foot-5, 305 pound junior Brandon Cunningham looks like a man among boys. He committed to Miami this summer and he'll be playing along the offensive and defensive lines and possibly tight end.
Whitehead said, "Brandon is a great leader. He does all the right things on the field. For a guy that size, he can move. Those guys don't come around a whole lot."
In closing coach Whitehead said his team will work hard and he expects his St. Martin team to perform to the best of their ability and just maybe, the 2017 Yellow Jackets can finally crack a playoff spot.