MINEOLA, Texas (KETK) — Team leadership is passed down from season to season, and for the Mineola Yellowjackets, two of their top examples aren’t even seniors yet, quarterback T.J. Moreland and running back Dawson Pendergrass.
“The saying we’ve come up with around here is ‘Mineola Tough’, so being tough is what you’ve got to be around here to be good, and I feel like that’s where we always are,” said Moreland.
“Those two guys have been a big part of our program here the last two years, you know, as underclassmen, but they are coming up, and they have had the benefit of being around some really good older kids, and it’s their time,” said head coach Luke Blackwell.
One of the guys they learned from was running back Trevion Snead, who was one of the most dominant rushers in the entire state.
But as Snead prepares for the SMU Mustangs, Moreland will be even more active in the offense, while Pendergrass looks to build on already having more than 1,200 yards on the ground last season.
“Dawson back there helps a lot because he can go make a play anytime he wants to,” said Moreland.
“Going to have to fill in a big spot just have to make some more plays, but I got ten other guys around me that I’m going to have to put my faith in too,” said Pendergrass.
“Well, he’s dynamic, you know, and I know ya’ll have seen that and everything, and certainly he is a force on the football field, but he is a threat every time he’s got the ball, and every time he’s around the ball,” said Blackwell.
The Jackets know they’ll need to be hitting on all cylinders, playing in one of the best districts in Texas, but over the years, they built a reputation as one of the top contenders in East Texas.
“Kids take a lot of pride in that year in and year out, we know we’ve got high expectations to live up to, but we’ve got a lot of hard-working kids,” said Blackwell. “They love to get after it, and they love that spotlight and we’re going to work hard.”
The Jackets will hit the road to open 2021 when they face the Eagles in Canton on Aug. 27.