Players of the Pine Belt: Wayne Academy’s Castle still standing for senior season

Players of the Pine Belt: Wayne Academy’s Castle still standing for senior season

WAYNESBORO, Miss. (WDAM) _ Senior quarterback Jacob Castle is a dyed-in-the-wool, Wayne Academy devotee, an institution he has attended since the fifth grade.

So, when a bout of mononucleosis ruined his junior season, it was hard to tell whether Castle felt worse from the energy-draining illness or his inability to be on the field.

“It was just tough, knowing I couldn’t be out there helping my team win,” Castle said. “I was sitting on the sidelines and it was painful to watch. It killed me.”

But a new season will give Castle another _ and final _ chance to lead the Jaguars.

“He had to overcome a lot of adversity last year,” Wayne Academy coach Todd Mangum said. “He missed most of the season last year due to illness, but he’s fought back and worked his way into this position.”

Last season, Wayne Academy went 6-6, winning an opening round game in the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools’ playoffs before seeing it season end on a one-point decision in the next round of the 2018 postseason.

Mangum said Castle, who was selected Wayne Academy’s “Player of the Pine Belt,” has been a rock as the Jaguars prepare for 2019.

“It’s been a breath of fresh air,” Mangum said. “It’s been motivation for him. He’s excited about being our quarterback and to pick up where he left off last year.”

Castle said Mangum has helped get back in the swing of things.

“He’s been my favorite coach that I’ve ever had,” Castle said. “I wish I could’ve had him since I was in junior high.”

Mangum, who is in his second season at Wayne Academy, said the Jaguars have been preparing for their season-opening game with South Choctaw Academy in Toxey, Ala.

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. Friday. The Jaguars defeated the Rebels 21-14 last season in Waynesboro.

“We just wanted to clean up things that we did wrong at the jamboree this past Friday night,” Mangum said. “We’re trying to be a more complete football team and eliminate the minor mistakes.”

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