25 Teams in 25 Days

St. Martin football will rely on young talent in Region 4-6A

The 2017 St. Martin football team.
The 2017 St. Martin football team. ttisbell@sunherald.com

The St. Martin football team has plenty of production to replace from a year ago, but the Yellow Jackets won’t be lacking in young talent this season.

St. Martin will have a new look when it starts the 2017 campaign at 7 p.m. Friday when it plays host to Forest Hill out of Jackson.

Quarterback Wayne Overman and his top receiver, Kalem Reddix, graduated, leaving behind two important positions to fill on offense. Overman, who is now at the Air Force Academy, threw for 3,056 yards and 34 touchdowns last season while Reddix pulled in 91 passes for 1,774 yards and 20 scores.

While St. Martin coach Eddie Wayne Whitehead will use a committee approach to replace Reddix and Overman, he has a reliable option in his ground attack. Junior running back Ham McGee, who holds a Southern Miss offer, ran 110 times for 821 yards and six touchdowns last season.

“He’s going to get the majority of the carries,” Whitehead said Wednesday. “He’ll have a big workload.”

Sophomore Jay McGee, Ham’s brother, will serve as a backup at tailback.

While the 5-foot-10, 196-pound Ham McGee will carry the load at running back, the quarterback position will be a shared responsibility to begin the season. Junior Jake Galle, an Ocean Springs transfer, and junior Mileon Graham are both expected to see snaps Friday night. Galle is considered a pocket passer while Graham, who had 100 tackles at linebacker last season, is more of a runner.

“They both do certain things we like,” Whitehead said. “We’ll take advantage of both of them.”

Whitehead expects to have as many as six receivers see playing time this season — freshman Makia Hebert, freshman Marqez Glispy, junior Elijah Washington, junior Franchot Canaan, senior Jamal Moody and junior Landon Pankonin.

Junior Brandon Cunningham, a junior right tackle, will lead the St. Martin offensive line. The 6-foot-5, 285-pound lineman verbally committed to the University of Miami in July, picking the Hurricanes over offers from Southern Miss and Memphis.

Other players expected to see playing time on the line include junior guard Devin Washington, junior guard Kobe Evans, sophomore guard Dustin Lucky, junior tackle Kadren Magee and junior tackle Johnny Eriquezzo.

“Several played last year so we’ve got some experience, but they are young,” Whitehead said. “None of them are seniors. They’ll have to step up and get the job done.”

St. Martin will be operating with a new defensive coordinator this season with former Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College assistant Neil Broussard taking over on that side of the ball.

St. Martin, which features only one senior among its probable starters on offense, is likely to have only have two seniors starting for the Yellow Jackets on defense.

Whitehead points to junior linebacker Keni Williams as one of his leaders on defense. Junior Jayce Franklin and Graham will also be key contributors at linebacker. Jay McGee, sophomore Alvin Cooks and senior Clay Gollott should also receive playing time at linebacker.

Juniors Rico Moore and Pankonin will see time at the nickel back spot.

Junior Nick Ross, Glispy, Washington, Canaan and Hebert will feature prominently in the secondary.

Whitehead expects his defense to be challenge by an athletic Forest Hill team Friday night.

“They spread the ball out,” Whitehead said. “They’ll man us up on defense. We’ve just got to make plays. They’ve got a huge offensive line. I just hope the weather doesn’t play a big factor in the game. Our field is soaked right now.”

St. Martin will also feature one of the top kicker/punters on the Coast in senior Sean Gomez, who holds a Southern Miss offer.

Patrick Magee: 228-896-2333, @Patrick_Magee

St. Martin schedule

Aug. 18: Forest Hill

Aug. 25: Tylertown

Sept. 1: at Crestview

Sept. 8: St. Stanislaus

Sept. 22: at Gulfport

Sept. 29: at Hancock

Oct. 6: Harrison Central

Oct. 13: Biloxi

Oct. 20: at Ocean Springs

Oct. 27: at Pascagoula

Nov. 3: D'Iberville

1 Ham McGee

2 Nick Ross

3 Mileon Graham

4 Landon Pankonin

5 Franchot Canaan

6 Jake Galle

7 Elijah Washington

8 Alvin Cooks

9 Marquez Glispy

10 Chaz Pylate

11 Demarius Ingram

12 Spencer Lutgring

13 Makia Hebert

14 Sean Gomez

15 Jay McGee

16 Jared Wetzel

17 Shazim Williams

18 Omar Mitchell

19 Devin Moore

20 Jamal Moody

21 Sebastian Ngo

22 Jayce Franklin

24 Kevin Ferguson

25 Ricco Moore

26 Will Jones

27 Kentrell Isom

28 D.J. Carney

29 J.B. Andrews

32 Zantonio Frazier

34 Spencer Mann

35 Jovan James

37 Harry Hall

40 Dylan Hughes

42 Heath Bridges

45 Clay Gollott

48 Keshaun Smith

49 Tanner Mitchell

51 Daulton Caudell

52 Dustin Lucky

53 R.J. Nelson

54 Keni Williams

55 Darshun Evans

56 D'Angelo Gaines

58 Hayden Tapper

59 Norde White

61 Easton Whitehead

62 Johnny Eriquezzo

64 Xavier Carradine

65 Nathan Pietz

66 Kaine Wilson

69 Devin Washington

70 Kadren McGee

72 Ethan Anderson

73 Brent Chandler

76 Aden Usry

78 Brandon Cunningham

90 Kevin Barnes

96 Joe Lewis