Trinity welcomes Natchez and Jefferson County transfers to team
NATCHEZ — For head coach Zach Rogel, the Trinity transformation happened in an instance.
Two weeks after veteran players Wyatt Boothe, Dee Fleming and Quinton Logan transferred to play for the Cathedral Green Wave, Rogel gazed at his fresh crop of players on Trinity’s football field from the hill above. As former Natchez High School players Cortez Adams, Ernest Chatman Jr. and Kevontaye Caston warmed up alongside former Jefferson County High School’s David Jackson, Rogel breathed a sigh of relief.
“They’re fitting in well,” said Rogel, as his team prepared for a 7-on-7 event against Adams County Christian School. “They fit the team mold. They’re not just coming here for football. They want to be here at Trinity.”
After the Saints suffered key losses, Rogel shuffled quickly to keep his roster in tact by adding more players. A roster that was once hovering around 14 players sits currently at 18, and Rogel isn’t finished adding more players.
“Let me say it like this — we’re 18 and growing,” Rogel said.
For some of the new players, transferring to Trinity was a process they long wanted to venture for multiple reasons. Caston, for example, wanted to make the switch for academic purposes.
“Last year, it came to me that I wanted to go to a new school and get my grades better,” Caston said.
Following suit, Jackson eyed the move for more than football reasons.
“It’s more about being a better player and being on a team,” Jackson said. “I didn’t want to come just for football or sports, but to better myself as an individual.”
For other players, the choice was much harder. Chatman didn’t want to leave the bonds he established in Natchez, but the newly formed bonds with Trinity’s players and coaching staff encouraged him to make the move.
“I have a lot of love for Natchez,” Chatman said. “I grew up with them, but I’m close to people here too. The coaching staff is great, and I couldn’t ask for anything better really.”
The departures of Fleming, Logan and Boothe attracted Adams to Trinity. Adams always had Trinity in the back of his mind, and after the transfers, he decided he wanted to come on board with the Saints and contend for a starting position.
“This has been the school I’ve always wanted to come to,” Adams said. “I saw them leaving as a motivation. By them leaving, I saw it as a better opportunity to play.”
The past few weeks for Rogel have given him a variety of extreme emotions, but the first-year head coach said one thing remained a constant.
“One thing that made that whole process better was the other players here that stuck with it,” Rogel said. “The core that stayed will be the core we build around.”
One of those players Rogel referred to was offensive lineman Joseph Harris. Harris stayed in frequent contact with his teammates the past few weeks, inspiring them to work harder and not give up on the season. Rogel called him a team captain for his showcase of leadership. As a leader might say, Harris previewed the upcoming season with great enthusiasm, and if you’re wondering if the team morale is positive, he has a one-word answer for you.
“Absolutely,” Harris said. “Why wouldn’t we be (positive)? We have new faces, athletic people. Again, why wouldn’t we be?”