St. Al’s Mazzanti hauls in All-State honor

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 17, 2003

[12/17/03]Drew Mazzanti totaled more than 1,250 yards and 15 touchdowns as a quarterback. He led the team with four interceptions at defensive back. And it was yet another skill that placed him among the state’s best.

Mazzanti, a 6-foot, 180-pound senior, was selected to the Class 1A All-State first team as a punter. He averaged 40.1 yards per kick this season for the Flashes, who finished the year 6-5.

Several other Vicksburg-area players were also selected to All-State teams.

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Warren Central kicker Will Clark and St. Al linebacker Cowan Conway were picked to the Class 5A and Class 1A All-State second teams, respectively.

Clark converted 28 of 30 extra points and 6 of 14 field goal attempts, with a long of 53 yards against Murrah. He also had touchbacks on 40 of his 49 kickoffs. Conway tied for the team lead with 83 tackles despite missing parts of several games.

Offensive linemen D.J. Lacey of Raymond and James Williams Jr. of South Delta were also selected to the Class 3A All-State second team.

“It’s something you always dreamed of, being honored by so many people,” Mazzanti said. “It was the position I excelled at the most. All of the credit goes out to the coaches and the special teams.”

Mazzanti didn’t start punting until this season. He accepted the role in the spring and showed a knack for it.

“He was a natural, but he worked at it and worked on his own, too. If he needed to stay after practice, he did that,” St. Al coach Jim Taylor said.

Taylor added that Mazzanti’s ability to punt the football was a huge weapon for the Flashes.

“He was consistent in giving you a good punt 99 percent of the time,” Taylor said. “The occasions that we had, he was very much on the high side of accomplishing what we wanted to do. If we wanted to punt away from somebody he could do that and still maintain a good punting average.”

While Mazzanti excelled at giving away the football, he was just as good at taking it back and keeping it away from opponents.

At quarterback, he completed 56 of 122 passes for 891 yards more than St. Al had had in the last three seasons combined and 10 touchdowns, with only five interceptions. He was also a dangerous runner, with 366 yards and five TDs.

As a defensive back, Mazzanti totaled 66 tackles and a sack, and led the team with four interceptions.

“Drew, to begin with, is very athletic and could play basically whatever position we needed him to play,” Taylor said. “From quarterback, which is a running back for us, and he was a good passer when we needed him to do that. Defensively, he played everything from linebacker to safety.”