Countdown To Kickoff: St. Stanislaus
BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss. (WLOX) - Few programs in South Mississippi have provided the model of consistency that St. Stanislaus has, with eight consecutive playoff appearances. This year’s version of the Rock-a-Chaws returns just six combined starters on offense and defense - but thanks to a well-established culture, everyone knows their job, and how to attack it.
“I learned from all the other seniors,” senior Joseph Bradford said. “In eighth grade I got moved up. Learning from every senior class made us the senior class we are today, learning all the lessons and growing together. I’ve been with some of these guys since eighth grade, you get really close to them. Almost like you’re brothers in a way.”
Last year’s defensive side of the ball was one of the stronger units on the Coast. While nine of the 11 starters in 2021 will be different, the expectation remains the same.
“I think the kids take pride in who we are and what we’re about on defense, and they play hard,” head coach Nate Encrapera said. “There’s a bunch of good, young kids over there who are going to be good. It’s just a matter of me doing my job and getting them ready as early as possible, and getting them to contribute on the field.”
Alex Fabra joins the quarterback room after spending time as a staple of the linebacking corps, and brings with him a certain sense of toughness under center.
“Alex does a really good job in terms of leadership and his no-nonsense attitude,” Encrapera said. “Kids gravitate to his work ethic and the way he approaches the game.”
Things will be a bit different for St. Stanislaus this season, moving from 4A to 3A, which means the opposing sideline won’t hold as familiar a foe. But it won’t change how the Rocks approach each game.
“We’ve always philosophically looked at is, we come in on Sunday and we’re 0-0,” Encrapera said. “We don’t identify who we are, we don’t change who we are based on who we’re playing that week. We’re going to be who we are and be the best version of ourselves and see how it sorts out.”
That’s just that culture of consistency hard at work, providing leadership at all times.
“We’re just trying to make the team the best that we can be as a whole, getting the young guys and trying to coach them up as best as possible,” Bradford said. “Even on the smaller stuff, because I know in the long run, the smaller stuff is what’s going to kill us.”
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