by Hunter Dawkins, Publisher

In a town with the 2010 Census population of 6500 and little larger estimated increase of the next unofficial report, the chance of getting one college athlete to shine is very limited.  The percentage of getting three Division I scholarship football players to score a touchdown on the same day is astronomical, but that’s just what happened on Saturday, October 2, 2021.
The three Division I student-athletes were Chase Rogers (2017 Alum of St. Stanislaus), Volme Swanier (2017 Alum of Pass Christian), and Lee Negrotto (2020 Alum of St. Stanislaus).  Each one has a different story and a separate path to how they got where they’re at.

Rogers; the starting Tight End for the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) Rebels, caught a 2-yard touchdown pass against the #1-ranked University of Alabama in the fourth quarter on Saturday.  Despite his first touchdown reception as a member of the Southeastern Conference (SEC), the Rebels were beaten by the Crimson Tide 42-21.

With a family of strong ties to Pass Christian, Rogers has gone through quite the experience of college football so far.  Signing an original scholarship with the University of Louisiana Lafayette, Rogers immediately played as a true freshman after putting together video game numbers out of St. Stanislaus College Prep.

A high school Max-Prep All American, Rogers caught 216 passes for 3729 yards and 44 touchdowns during his illustrious career with the Rockachaws.  In his fifth overall college year, he has gone through a redshirt year because of injury and forced to sit out one year due to transfer.

Currently, Rogers has 71 yards and last week’s touchdown for the Rebels.

Volme (V.J.) Swanier went on an opposite path from the other two.  The 2017 Pass Christian Alum was well known for not stepping off the field and played both ways despite never playing on a winning team in high school.

As the Delta Devils from Mississippi Valley State had only scored 38 points total for the first 3 games, they were not an offensive firepower.  Trailing 10-3 at the closing of the first half, Swanier made an interception return for 41 yards for a touchdown to tie the  game against heavily favored North Carolina Central University despite playing at home in Itta Bena, Mississippi.

With Swanier’s help of 5 tackles, Valley scored another touchdown in the second half to pull off the upset.  This was the Delta Devils fourth win since Swanier joined the team in 2019 despite his 90 total tackles as the outside linebacker and the 2020 pandemic shortened season.

After finishing his stellar career as a Pirate by rushing for nearly 3000 yards, finishing with nearly 200 tackles, and scoring 35 touchdowns on both sides of the ball, Swanier chose East Central Community College for his first two years of athletic and academic advancements.

Following his career as the middle linebacker for two years in Decatur, Swanier landed a scholarship with Mississippi Valley State and is playing as a fifth year senior.

The youngster of the group; Lee Negrotto, is a redshirt freshman for the Nicholls State Colonels playing a lot of tight end in the high powered offense for the FCS Division I program in Thibodaux, Louisiana.

Coming off a highly successful high school career at St. Stanislaus where Negrotto played both ways, the 2020 season was canceled for the Colonels because of the pandemic.  

During the spring, Negrotto put up some successful numbers, catching 6 passes for 61 yards in 7 games.

In the fourth game of 2021, the Colonels were playing Southland Conference opponent; Houston Baptist, seeking their second win in a row after beating North Alabama in the first home game.

Leading 21-0, Quarterback Kohen Granier found Negrotto in the back of the end zone for an 11 yard touchdown on Saturday with 13:36 left in the first half.

The daunting lead proved to be too much for Houston Baptist and Negrotto’s 5 receptions for 31 yards helped contribute to their 48-17 win and first conference victory of the season.

After a successful high school career with 50 receptions, 12 touchdowns, 247 tackles, and 16 sacks in four years at St. Stanislaus, the 6’3 tight end hopes to have found his place in Thibodaux.

 

Thankfully in a small Mississippi town, celebrating an unconventional path of success for these student-athletes is important.