ELLISVILLE, Miss. (WDAM) _ DeMarcus McGilberry is decidedly a man of few words.
But South Jones High School football coach Roger Satcher is counting on McGilbery’s actions to provide the template for the Braves this fall.
“The situation is we have to figure out what we can do and who the leaders are going to be, and I’m expecting Mr. McGilberry to be the leader on the team,” Satcher said. “He’s a two-way starter, offensive guard, defensive tackle.
“He led our defense on the line last year and played a lot of offense, and he’s going to play a lot more this year, so he’s got to be ready to play.”
The 6-foot-1, 270-pound McGilberry, one of 13 seniors on the Braves, said he appreciated his coach’s confidence.
“When he told me, I knew I had to step up and be a leader,” said McGilberry, who was named South Jones’ “Player of the Pine Belt.”
“We can be good but we’re going to have to have a lot of people play this year, a lot of inexperienced guys who’ve got to step up and play their share. So, you’ve got to work hard to get better every day.”
Satcher said while he thinks he has the players to fill in holes left by the graduation of 13 seniors.
“It could be good, it could be bad. It just depends on whether we can manage to get it together,” Satcher said. “It just depends on how they’re going to answer the call.
“It’s up to them. It’s one of those deals where we could be as good be as good as were last year or we could be better than we were last year. Then again, it may not all work together because our offense, it all has to fit together. But we’ve been working really hard everything to fit together, and once we get that, we’ll know.”
For the first time in years, South Jones will not have a quarterback named Mitchell behind center.
“We’ve got a quarterback who has the tools, (senior) Chad Locklear,” Satcher said. “
“Chad is a one of those guys who can throw it a mile and is as fast any guy on our team. He’s got all the tools that it takes to run our offense, but he has yet to be in the fire. It’s going to take him a while to get him to go.”
But Locklear will have help, including McGilberry anchoring the offensive front.
“We’ve got some guys, Tegarrius Roberts and Micaich Davis, at fullback and both of those guys have the ability to do what we need them to do,” Satcher said. “One will run over you, while the other will run through you.
“We’ve got a good offensive line, and everywhere else, I think we’ve got some quality players, but they just haven’t been in the fire.”
Satcher said the Braves have a chance to be much-improved defensively.
“Our defense will be better than last year,” Satcher said. “I don’t know that we’re going to be as fast as we need to be for the (region) we play in, but we are going to be a lot better in a lot of areas.”
McGilberry was one of the reasons, Satcher said.
“Just his desire to be a football player,” Satcher said. “He’s a very good student and works hard. He’s one of our hardest-working kids. He does everything you ask him to. Works hard. Works extra.”
McGilberry said he’s ready to wear a leader’s mantle.
You’ve got to make sure you know what you’re doing when you get on the field,” McGilberry said. “We’ve got to get everybody on the same page.”
The Braves kick off the 2019 football season at 7 p.m. on Friday, Aug, 23, when they travel to Sumrall High School.