Emotional Mayfield leads Wildcats
WINSLOW TWP.—As the seconds clicked off the scoreboard clock at Winslow Twp. last week, the tears began to run down Kevin Mayfield’s cheeks.
Throughout the fourth quarter of St. Joseph Academy’s 29-6 win at Winslow, Mayfield a senior fullback and linebacker for the Wildcats had been glancing every few minutes at the clock, watching the seconds wind down on what has been a stellar high school football career.
“Last time playing St. Joe football. I loved every minute of it, from being on the sidelines cheering the older boys on to my last carry,” Mayfield said after the game.
Mayfield played a key role in St. Joe’s win, carrying 24 times for 127 yards and a touchdown.
When the game was over, Mayfield didn’t want to leave the field, savoring every moment of his final high school game.
“I’m speechless,” he said.
“That four years can go by so fast. It just meant so much. I’m just happy that I could play for Coach [Paul] Sacco and be a part of the St. Joe family. Everyone here has meant so much to me. It hurts that it’s over,” Mayfield said.
Mayfield has been a starter since the end of his freshman year, when he saw action as a linebacker on St. Joseph’s state championship team. The next year, he became a full-time starter on defense and the last two seasons has served as the Wildcats starting fullback.
He gained a team-high 894 yards rushing this season, many of them on tough runs up the middle.
“I’ve always tried to do whatever I could to help the team any way I can,” Mayfield said.
“When I was a freshman, that meant cheering on the older guys from the sidelines. Then when I started playing more, I just wanted to do what I could to help us win,” he said.
Sacco was quick to praise Mayfield for both his play and his leadership abilities.
“He [Mayfield] is such a great kid. He’s done everything we’ve asked him to do for four years and he never complains, he just goes out and gets the job done,” Sacco said.
St. Joseph’s longtime coach added that Mayfield is the type of player he looks to bring into the program.
“When I look at him [Mayfield], I see the kind of player that we’ve always taken pride in [having in] our program. Kevin’s not the biggest kid, but he works hard, carries himself the right way and is never a problem. He’s so dedicated. Until a few weeks ago, he didn’t have a car. Now he has an old one that he drives, but before that, he would ride his bike to the bus, take the bus to school and then walk or run to catch the bus back home. He did that every day. When I think of the kind of kids we want here, I’ll tell you what, we want them like him,” Sacco said.
Mayfield doesn’t say much on or off the field, but he has set an example for his teammates all season.
“I think he’s [Mayfield] is more of a quiet leader who just sets a good example of how to work hard and earn your success,” Sacco said.
For Mayfield, last week’s game was a special one.
“When coach told us that Winslow wanted to play, we were all so excited. We were so happy that we could play one more game together. The seniors were in tears, crying. We were so happy to get one more play, one more game to be around each other and have fun,” Mayfield said.
So last week, as the final seconds counted down, Mayfield was overcome with the emotions of four years in a St. Joseph uniform.
“It’s meant so much to me. I don’t want it to end. I loved every moment and I’m proud to be a Wildcat,” Mayfield said.