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Seeing red: St. Stanislaus is back for more in 2016

The 2016 St. Stanislaus College football team
The 2016 St. Stanislaus College football team amccoy@sunherald.com

They can be perceived as brash and they’re often boisterous. But one thing seems certain — they’re back for Round 3.

The St. Stanislaus Rockachaws return a core group of playmakers from their second straight Class 4A South State championship team with a similar goal in mind: Return to Starkville, which hosted the title game in 2014, for another shot at a state championship.

The last couple of years, the Rockachaws, who have fallen to powerhouse Noxubee County, have used various motivational tactics during their road to the Class 4A clash. Not any more. Coach Bill Conides said they’ve moved on from the 2015 “building a road to Oxford” and the championship photos. Instead, they’ve focused on coming together as a team.

“I think ultimately we lost to Noxubee County because they’re unbelievably talented, but they’re also a good team,” Conides said. “They play together extremely well and are extremely well-coached. That’s something we need to get to. In order to beat a team like that, we have to be a better team.

“It’s plain and simple.”

Offensive firepower

The Rockachaws’ offense is loaded once again with at least four Division I-caliber seniors returning from a unit that scored 566 points.

Quarterback Myles Brennan is fresh off of a busy summer that saw him earn a spot at The Opening, a prestigious athletic competition held in Oregon. The LSU commit posted gaudy numbers as a junior, passing for 5,248 yards and 53 touchdowns after torching opponents for 5,797 and 64 the year before.

Back are prime targets Chase Rogers, Darius Pittman, Corbin Blanchard and Hunter Brewer. Rogers, a Tennessee commit, was among Mississippi’s leaders in 2015 with 81 receptions, 1,462 yards and 19 touchdowns. Pittman, who recently narrowed his recruitment to South Alabama, Colorado State and Western Kentucky, caught 56 passes for 926 yards and nine scores. Blanchard (51 receptions, 783 yards, 4 touchdowns) — with offers from Air Force, Army, Cornell and Columbia — and Brewer (31, 408, 3) round out Brennan’s leading targets.

Running backs Cahill Marlowe and Andrew Trapani return as do three offensive linemen in Brandon Tartavouille, Mark Cook and J.D. Luffey who took their lumps as first-year starters in ’15.

If SSC is going to make another run, Conides said it’s the line that will lead the way.

“The offensive line I think has made the biggest strides out of any position group on the field. They took their lumps last year as an offensive line that returned zero starts and getting 15 games of experience under their belts. The core group of the line, with Tartavouille, Cook and Luffey, are all returning starters,” he said. “And the two guys we have filling in, the center Jordan Skinner, who is a transfer from St. Patrick, just fits into our program. And then Alex Rimmer, who is a big, long basketball player, is going to do well for us.”

Getting defensive

Defensively, Conides loves his secondary as leaders in this year’s 3-4 scheme.

“Our secondary is so football savvy,” he said. “They see us every single day. They’re going to face the best passing offense in the country every single day, so ultimately they’re going to get better as a result of that.”

The defense’s leader is also it’s best returning tackler in senior safety Rickey Schaefer, who racked up 127 tackles with 3.5 sacks.

“He has always been kind of an undersized player, but he’s so smart and is very athletic and mean,” Conides said. “He’s perfect for what we do defensively.”

Flanking Schaefer in the secondary will be returners Brendan Logan, J.D. Rutherford and Jake Greer. Gaige Prudhomme is one of five new starters on defense.

Defensive end Joe Reeder and linebacker Lewie Negrotto are the only returning starters in the front seven. Linemen Ronnie Aleman and Thomas Weber, along with linebackers Leo Roos, a transfer from Isidore Newman in New Orleans, and Jack Putnam round out the projected starters defensively.

Targeted Rocks

During their last two runs, SSC has built up a reputation. Conides feels SSC will have a target on its back once again in 2016 — and he welcomes the added attention.

“Especially in our district, especially in 4A, and especially in 4A south and ultimately in 4A as a whole,” he said. “We definitely have a target on our back. St. Paul’s (Mobile) and Brother Martin (New Orleans) play us because we’re on the schedule. People like Biloxi and D’Iberville want to beat us because we’re a Coast team. And then obviously you have district teams, because we’ve been successful for the past three years.

“We definitely have a target on our back, but we want the target to be on our back. Again, that’s a difficult situation to overcome on a weekly basis — especially when you know those guys are probably training all summer trying to figure out a way to beat us.”

SSC opens Aug. 19 at Biloxi in the Shrimp Bowl, hosts St. Paul’s Episcopal and Long Beach and then visits Brother Martin and D’Iberville before opening region play.

Patrick Ochs: 228-896-2321, @PatrickOchs

At a glance

2016 record: 11-4

Region: 8-4A

Head coach: Bill Conides

Assistant coaches: Rashad Dunn, Nate Encrapera, Mark Logan, Jeff Jordan, Josh Jordan and Boomer Scarborough

Offense: Spread

Defense: 3-4

2016 schedule

Aug. 19

at Biloxi

Aug. 26

ST. PAUL’S (Ala.)

Sept. 2

LONG BEACH

Sept. 9

At Brother Martin

Sept. 16

At D’Iberville

Sept. 23

Open

Sept. 30

At Vancleave

Oct. 7

at Bay High

Oct. 14

EAST CENTRAL

Oct. 21

at Moss Point

2016 roster

1 Gaige Prudhomme

2 Cahill Marlowe

3 Brendan Logan

4 J.D. Rutherford

5 Andrew Trapani

7 Will Greer

8 Pat Greer

9 Jake Greer

10 Darius Pittman

11 Ian Wadsworth

12 Myles Brennan

14 Taylor LaFontaine

15 Jake Gardner

16 Corbin Blanchard

17 Harrison Brewer

18 Max Favre

19 Bradley Darby

20 Davis Scharp

21 Delvin Henry

22 Trace Rhodes

23 Cole Rodriguez

24 William Weber

25 Taylor Necaise

27 Gaines Carter

28 Robert Anderson

30 Jackson Thriffiley

31 Jacob Burleson

32 Cameron Baher

33 Rickey Schafer

42 Brennan Toepfer

44 Lewie Negrotto

45 Thomas Weber

50 Will Pennell

50 Leo Roos

51 Chris Miller

52 Jack Putnam

53 Joe Lawson

53 Michael Pfarrar

54 Joe Reeder

55 J.D. Luffey

56 Alex Rimmer

60 Nathan Cox

63 Ronnie Aleman

64 Nicholas Ray

65 Nate McCormick

66 Jack Wikoff

67 Sam Carter

68 Mark Cook

70 Payton Prudhomme

71 Hogan Benvenutti

72 Jordan Skinner

74 Seth Cook

75 Brandon Tartivouille

76 Stephen Loupe

77 Thomas Keller

77 Eastman Montjoy

80 Chase Rogers

82 Nick Clogher

84 Thomas Williams

88 Leo Negrotto

89 Nicholas Quintini

90 Corbin Altisse

92 Carson Rogers

95 Austin Gardner

99 Easton Logan

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