Any team sports needs more than one great player to be successful. For the Yellowjackets this season junior quarterback Shaw Franklin, senior running back Curtis London and freshman running back Trevion Sneed have created a three-headed monster on the football field, but they each say their success starts off the field, not on it.
“We’re like brothers, we looked forward to this year because it’s the only year we will get to play together again,” they all said laughing in agreement.
On every good football team there’s usually three key players on offense that stand out amongst the rest. The Dallas Cowboys have Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott and Dez Bryant, the Pittsburg Steelers have Ben Rothlisberger, Antonio Brown and Le’veon Bell and the Atlanta Falcons have Matt Ryan, Devonta Freeman and Julio Jones.
Through week eight Franklin, London and Sneed have proven to be the focal point of the Mineola offense. The trio has run the ball 260 times, for just over 1,700 yards and 25 touchdowns collectively.
“We compete with each other during games to see who gets the most yards or who’s going to get tackled first and it’s usually always Trevion,” London said jokingly.
London and Franklin, who are both 17 years old, agree that the funniest in the group is Sneed who’s more like their “little big brother” than a teammate. The three have known each other just around 12 years and played Pee Wee football together previously before high school.
Sneed who recently turned 15, has been the biggest surprise with his play this season as the 6’1” 200-pound freshman is tied for the team lead with 10 touchdowns and has already eclipsed the 500-yard rushing mark so far this year.
“Early on in the season I wasn’t sure how much I would play, but I prepared myself and worked hard like I knew I would start and when coach puts me in I just try my best to make something good happen for the team,” Sneed said.
Anyone who has watched them all season can realize that when all three of them are on the field at the same time the Mineola offense has lots of success. When asked why they thought this was true Franklin responded saying, “As a defense you can’t cover all of us at once, so as the quarterback I just try to make sure the right person gets the ball.”
Another thing fans can notice during games this season is how often the trio are in constant communication with one another. Often times it may be with smiles on their faces they all say they know when it’s time to get down to business.
“Yeah, we joke around with each other but we know when it’s time to get serious, out on the field we trust each other and we always make sure we have each other’s back but that not just between us three but that’s how our whole team is,” London said.
As individuals they each have their own running styles that differ from one another. Sneed is much more of a power back who often chooses to use stiff arms and his strength to run through arm tackles, while Franklin is a pure speed runner who’s great once a running lane is created and London is a slight mix of both as a runner who can elude tacklers with his speed or his strength.
While all three guys have felt the weight of expectations stemming from their state championship run in 2016, they each say they’re focused on making the most of this season and expect nothing less than last year’s result in 2017.
“We been doubted since we lost a lot of guys last season, so we definitely used that as motivation this season to show that we can be just as good as last year’s team,” Franklin said.
“A lot of people probably thought we wouldn’t be successful this year with all the new guys and a new head coach, but I think we’re ready to prove people wrong,” London said.
When asked what the team will need to do this year to repeat as class 3A state champs, London said, “Stay focused on the small details and block better for each other.”
The Jackets are locked in to second place in the district with just one game to go before the playoffs begin.
“If we improve our defense and fly to the ball, we’ll be right where we need to be when the playoffs come,” Sneed said.