Last season, St. Paul’s proved they were a top 5A program after finishing the year with 10 wins and losing in the third-round of the playoffs in double overtime to Saraland; a loss that motivates the Saints this off season.
“The thing about the playoffs is that everybody, with the exception of one team in every class, goes home with a loss, and it gives everybody a bad taste in their mouth but when you have time to reflect on it and see what you did over an 18 week season, you don’t let one night ruin what you did in a year,” said head coach Steve Mask. “Yeah it hurts to lose, it hurts to lose a game in double over time that you felt like you could have won, but at the same time there were only six teams that went home happy at the end of the year last year.”
“It’s a great motivation but they really are a great team with great players and great coaches,” said safety, Walter Little.
The spring season is the time to start building toward a deeper post-season.
“Well it’s always exciting because you start a new team and you start that team process in January when you start your off season program, but with kids being scattered out amongst other sports, you don’t really have a cohesive time to put them all together so take these two weeks to really start building a team for the fall,” said Mask.
“I’m very excited about getting back out there on the field, being a leader on the field, trying to get this team to where we want to be. We’ve got a lot of seniors coming back this year, a lot of experience, so I think we’ll be okay,” said Little.
“It’s more of strapping up, getting ready to go back out and have a great season, kind of trying to figure out where everyone is going to play this year because we lost a couple great players last year,” said Hunter Quinnelly.
After the state’s reclassification, St. Paul’s will stay in the Class 5A, in one of the most competitive regions in the state.
“Our number one focus is trying to put our team in the best position it can be, so we can compete with the Jackson’s and the Vigor’s. And the other teams are much improved, B.C. Rain is going to be better, Faith is going to be better, we don’t know anything about Escambia County and Williamson will be better, so it’s a never-ending process. We’ve been fortunate the last five years that we’ve been here – we’ve been in some big games, our kids know how to react, so we expect nothing but the best,” said Mask.