MEMPHIS, Tenn. — It’s nearly playoff time and with the biggest games now on the line, teams need their best players to make the biggest plays. That’s why the Sheffield Knights depend on their all-around all-state senior Mark Joseph.
Sheffield's motto is that they are taking things “personal” this season.
"The season was personal for us after the playoff loss to Dyersburg (last season) and I knew we had to get stronger, faster and physical and that was our goal this year," said Edward Kuykendoll, Sheffield's head coach.
Sheffield locked up the AAA Region 8 title with a 7-1 record including a perfect 6-0 in the region. They have home-field in the first round of the playoffs. Leading the Knight’s crusade is senior quarterback and safety Mark Joseph, who is also taking things "personal" after an all-state junior year. In 2021, he led the state in interceptions with 10. He added another nine this season.
"College coaches and other players around the city thought, ‘Hey, this was just a one-year thing. It won’t happen again.’ So I just came out and proved to them I can do it more than one time," Joseph said.
No more was that epitomized than last Friday night.
Against Frederick Douglass High, Joseph had six touchdowns and scored just about every way you could. He ran for two touchdowns, threw for two more, returned a punt nearly 80 yards for a touchdown and had a scoop and score.
He would have had a seventh if an interception hadn't been called back for a penalty.
"It shows that I can live up to my nickname, 'The Eraser', that Coach (Kuykendoll) gave me. It shows that when we need big plays made I was able to come out and make them," Joseph said.
After the game, Kuykendoll tweeted that Sheffield’s players don’t get enough respect. Many of his kids are looking to make names for themselves, including number zero.
"People don't look at Sheffield to have athletes but we do. We probably have more athletes than anywhere in the area," Kuykendoll said. "If Mark was at a bigger school his recruitment would be out of the roof, but because it's Sheffield they're coming but not like it would be if it was a bigger school so Mark is trying to change the narrative."
"The Eraser", who also goes by "Sub-Zero" by his peers, just wants his respect.
"I was like, 'Aye I can make a name for this," he said. "Once I got the number zero one of my friends gave me the nickname Sub-Zero so I just stuck with it."
Another chance to make his name and Sheffield’s name comes Friday in the playoffs against Ripley.