A few weeks before the teams that would meet in the Class 3A South State title game were even decided, Seminary’s Dandy Dozen defensive end Nathan Pickering told head coach Brian Rials about a dream he had.
It involved a big game and Dalvon Martin, a senior team captain who was on Sept. 17 involved in a devastating car accident that nearly took his life and has since left him confined to a wheelchair. Smith suffered a major tear to his aorta — one of the body’s main arteries — and several broken bones in the accident.
But in Pickering’s dream, the young man who once did a little bit of everything on the field for the Bulldogs helped them win without ever touching it.
“He said, ‘Coach, we’re going to be trailing in the championship at halftime and Dalvon is going to come out there and we’ll get motivated and come back to win,'” Rials said as he recalled Pickering’s dream.
After two quarters of football, reigning Class 3A champion Jefferson Davis County had played the Bulldogs to a 7-7 tie. Martin, who hadn’t been able to attend a game since the accident, had already surprised and inspired the team by making an appearance on the sideline halfway through the first quarter.
But with Seminary’s first trip to a state title game since 2003 on the line, Martin decided to make another appearance in the locker room at halftime. Pickering said his words were few but fiery.
“He said three words: ‘Let’s whoop a**,'” Pickering said. “He was straight to the point.”
With that titillating trio of words echoing in their hearts and heads, Seminary (12-3) outscored Jefferson Davis County 8-2 in the second half and secured a 15-9 victory. It didn’t happen exactly the way he saw it, but Pickering’s dream had come true all the same.
The win was the 10th straight for the Bulldogs since Martin’s accident.
“Nobody really gave us a chance, but our kids believed we could win and Dalvon being there made it more special,” Rials said.
Now, Seminary is hoping to pick up number 11 at M.M. Roberts Stadium in Hattiesburg at 11 a.m. Friday against Water Valley (13-2) and win a title for the player that has motivated them on their state title run.