Having won three straight state football championships, the St. Joseph Catholic School football program has created a dynasty, and senior leaders on this year’s squad see no reason why it has to end.
Senior leaders Kaleb Lockett and Jordan Scott both agreed the Fighting Irish have everything it takes to win a fourth straight state championship.
“We know that a lot of people are doubting us because Dillon (Johnson) and Trey (Benson) are not here anymore, but we know that we can win another state title,” said Lockett, a wide receiver and a cornerback.
While they miss their former teammates (Benson is now at the University of Oregon and Johnson is at Mississippi State), players like Lockett say they are now excited to get some of the spotlight on themselves.
“We love them, and they were great players for us, but now it is our turn to be senior leaders, and now it is our turn to keep this thing rolling.” Lockett said.
St. Joseph Coach John Baker also said he is looking forward to the challenge of winning another state championship.
“With everything going on in the world, we know this year is going to be different, and there are a lot of challenges that all teams are going to face to keep their players healthy,” Coach Baker said. “But, we are on a 24-game winning streak, and if we are going to play then we are still the state champs until someone knocks us off.”
On Wednesday afternoon inside the St. Joe field house, it was clear this season will be unlike any other. While also practicing social distancing, Irish players had their temperatures tested before being allowed to enter the team field house.
While the Irish won’t have the fire power of Johnson or Benson back this season, they will have returning quarterback Mekhi Norris. Norris passed for 1,304 yards last season and threw for 18 touchdowns.
“We will be more of a pass-oriented team this year,” Coach Baker said. “We have a lot of great returning receivers.”
Along with Lockett, other returning receivers for the Irish include A.J. McCloud, Elvis Scott, Jerrian King and Jordan Jennings.
The Fighting Irish begin their season on Aug. 28 at Clinton Christian Academy. Their first home game is the following week, Sept. 4, against Glenbrook. St. Joe will take on rival Greenville Christian in its third game on Sept. 11 at Greenville Christian.
“I have been playing here since the ninth grade, and winning state championships here means a lot,” said lineman Jordan Scott. “I am so happy that we are able to play football. Football is my life.”