A year and half of Covid adversity continues to challenge the day-to-day normalcy we all seek. Hard work and drive are the norm on the gridiron at Saint Mary’s and the Tiger team hopes that winning continues to be the norm. Many unknowns beleaguered the squad at the onset of last season, foremost if they would even have a season.
Question marks surrounded them after the dismal 2019 year. Who would anchor the offensive line? An area where the team usually lacks size but rarely heart.
Who would emerge as the starting quarterback?
What skill players could break out as statistical leaders?
Answers were revealed during the season. The team started the 2020 season with a 1-3 record before winning five games in a row, none more exhilarating than the week six game against Logansport. That game will likely be remembered for years to come as the Tigers won 46-45 with no time remaining on the clock.
Several individuals return to the lineup having tasted success and yearning for more.
Adam Parker will be under center for the Tigers or more accurately in the pistol/shotgun. The junior QB has been getting many accolades in the off-season and is projected to be one of the top QB’s in CENLA. He threw for almost 1,600 yards and 16 touchdowns. Parker performed well in summer 7-on-7 activities and won the Shootout in Texas with his top target, sophomore Ethan Busby. But it will remain to be seen how 7V7 translates to full games. Busby was named to the all-district team and is looking to add to his stat sheet that includes 61 catches for 624 yards last season.
Graeme Fidelak will be another target for Parker and is just a talented athlete wherever Coach Aaron York needs him. His double duty will be at the cornerback position.
Payne Williams will see double or triple duty as a receiver, corner back and kicker for the Tigers. With a couple of years of experience, Williams should increase his range off the tee for field goals. That’s worrisome for the competition because he already has set precedent as being solid.
Drake Griffin is poised to bang the ball in the middle of opposing defenses when he’s not harassing opposing QBs or sealing the corner on teams that try and use their speed on sweeps.
Steak supper is done, signaling the annual passing of summer to school and with it the start of football. The team looked good against Westminster Christian Academy. The Tigers drove their opening possession down the field and scored. The offensive line provided time for Parker to find targets and the defense was solid early.
Non-district opposition this season will be games against Abbeville 3A, Buckeye 3A, Holy Savior Menard 2A, Oakdale 2A and Dequincy 2A. Last year’s pandemic abbreviated eight game season will be gone and a full 10 game season has returned.
Saint Mary’s will start their District title defense at home against Northwood-Lena in week six. They will be on the road for three games with week nine likely being the game of the year against Logansport. The game is projected to possibly be winner take all for the district crown again this year.
Coach York’s comments on the upcoming season, “Our kids are working hard and I’m excited to see it pay off this season. Our biggest challenge this year is to build depth.” That will indeed be a challenge since there is no room for injuries at any position. Only four senior players are on the roster so it will be a year for underclassmen to step up.