Jake Greer isn’t too proud to cry.
After all, seven months of hearing the same type of stuff can trigger that kind of emotional release.
Throughout the spring and summer, Greer and his St. Stanislaus teammates saw the doubtful social media posts. They heard plenty of skepticism if this Rockachaws team could be like that one; the one that just graduated D-1 signees.
They observed it all and took note, using the naysayers as fuel for their offseason workouts.
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So when the final buzzer sounded to conclude the Shrimp Bowl with SSC a 21-10 victor over host Biloxi, Greer couldn’t hold it all in any longer and he wept.
“It meant the world to me and this program. After graduating Myles (Brennan), Chase (Rogers), Darius (Pittman) and Corbin (Blanchard) and that senior class, everybody kind of wrote us off,” Greer said before Tuesday’s practice. “Like, what are these guys going to do after all of them leave? That’s kind of what we bought into the whole offseason. For it to pay off on that night, you couldn’t ask for anything more.”
Against the Indians, Greer threw for 110 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 107 more yards.
“I’m sure people can imagine, but nobody can really appreciate the pressure he was under filling those shoes. But he relished it, took it and ran with it. He really did. He wanted to prove to the community, school and Coast that he could be a good quarterback — and I think he’s doing that,” new SSC coach Jeff Jordan said. “At that point, there was no doubt in anyone’s mind on the team — staff or player — that it was going to be Jake’s offense.”
Since that game, there have been some rough patches, but Greer has largely shown that he belongs as the Rockachaws’ new QB-1.
“I’m still learning my receivers and getting on the same page as them, but if you look at us from that Biloxi game to now there’s definitely a huge jump in the passing game,” Greer said. “We’re proud of that.”
Jordan attributed Greer’s maturation to staying within himself.
“He struggled running the offense a little bit (against St. Martin and St. Paul’s Episcopal),” he said, “but once he understood exactly what we expected of him, checking at the line, getting us out of bad situations, just running the offense and not trying to do too much, he settled into that groove and has shown he’s really a special player.”
Entering Friday’s home game against Bay High, Greer has completed 60.6 percent of his passes for 1,027 yards and 11 touchdowns against two interceptions. Adding a new dimension to the team’s offense this year, Greer has rushed for 362 yards and four scores. Not bad for a guy who had spent much of his sophomore and junior seasons at safety and linebacker, attempting just 15 passes during that stretch as he learned from Brennan.
Strong supporting cast
Greer, who was named to the South’s roster in the annual Bernard Blackwell Classic on Wednesday, hasn’t done it by himself.
Eight different Rockachaws have caught touchdowns, with Harrison Brewer proving to be a reliable safety net. The senior leads SSC (3-3, 1-0) with 27 receptions, 343 yards and four touchdowns.
“He’s the leader of that receiving corps and our go-to guy,”
Running backs Andrew Trapani and Cahill Marlowe have combined for 439 yards and five touchdowns, while lineman Brandon Tartavoulle, who as selected to play in the Mississippi-Alabama All-Star Game, has been a leader up front.
With both schools calling Bay St. Louis home, Friday night’s Region 8-4A showdown is sure to have an extra aura around it.
Greer knows perhaps more than most, having previously been a part of the Bay-Waveland School District.
“I went through junior high over there so I know all the guys on that side. It’s going to be a good one. They’re going to play us hard like they do every year,” he said. “It adds a big edge. We used to play Bay youth ball together. It brings back all the old memories. It’s a fun game. I love playing in it every year.”
The Tigers enter Friday’s game 0-6, but Jordan said he hasn’t mentioned Bay’s record to his players; he knows better.
“They have some players and good coaching. You can’t look at their record and we’re not talking about the record this week. The only thing I’ve mentioned is you can’t take anybody for granted, even if you think you’re better than they are — just look at Troy and LSU,” he said. “Bay High has good players and coaches. This game means a lot to them. They’re going to come over here with the intention of beating us so we’re going to have to be prepared.”
Who: Bay at St. Stanislaus
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Dual threat QB
11 TDs, 2 INTs