Countdown to Kickoff 2023: St. Martin Yellow Jackets

Published: Aug. 15, 2023 at 10:50 PM CDT
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ST. MARTIN, Miss. (WLOX) - The St. Martin Yellow Jackets and second year head coach Ty Smith are ready to start their first year in 7A.

“Everybody out here on this field right now they’ve been put through it over the summer, they’ve been put through it so far, they’re ready, they’re ready to win,” said Smith.

Smith says he’s taking a number of lessons learned from his first year as head coach, into year two.

“I learned a lot, learned more than I have in all the years I’ve coached. It didn’t go the way we wanted to obviously but from a football program where we’re trying to change things around we had a lot of success and got a lot done last year,” he said. “The kids you see out here right now they’ve bought in 110 percent and doing everything we’ve asked.”

The Yellow Jackets boast a younger team this year but with some key returners coming back, including four star wide receiver Noreel White, who’s making the switch to quarterback this year.

“It’s going good so far,” said White. “I like the transition because the ball is in my hands 100 percent of the time so I know where to give it off. I’m making the decision, it’s a bigger role but a better role.”

Another returner is linebacker Gavin Allen who says their off-the-field work this off season is translating to on the field success.

“Honestly it’s mental toughness,” said Allen. “I feel like the last couple of years we’ve been lacking in discipline. That’s basically our number one goal this year, it’s been a complete turnaround since my sophomore season and I think that’s going to make a big difference for us.”

White adds he’s noticed the on the field presence of this years Yellow jackets is different from years past.

“Be the best you can be on the field, off the field too but when you’re on the field you put on a different persona,” said White.

All of this boils down to culture, and coach Smith says that’s something he’s been working to instill in year two.

“The environment that we have right now, these kids here have never felt like it is right now,” said Smith. “This coaching staff and these guys out here on this football field are doing it the right way right now and as a grown man that does this for a living I couldn’t be more proud of them.”

“Coach Smith has completely changed this program,” said Allen. “Even from last year to this year, if you look around, everybody is more locked in than ever.”

The Yellow Jackets open up the season on the road at Vancleave.

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