BALDWIN COUNTY, Ala. (WKRG) — Next up on WKRG’s “33 Teams in 33 Days” spring special is the St. Michael Cardinals.

WKRG sports director Simone Eli and weekend sports anchor Gerhard Mathangani provide an inside look into the Cardinals, who are looking for their first playoff berth in school history. This season marks the seventh in school history.

St. Michael went 4-3 in Class 4A, Region 1 finishing one win from a playoff berth. Former NFL quarterback Philip Rivers enters his third season at the helm.

Rivers told WKRG this year’s roster is young, so they are doing “skill development” over the traditional spring practices this season. Skill development does not involve helmets, pads or hitting, but allows coaches to work with athletes for two hours per week over several months. Schools opting for skill development can also start fall camp early.

Rivers says his guys have the ability to reach the playoffs this upcoming season.

“Collectively, we are a young football team, I mean we’re probably going to end up with two or three freshman that are going to start for us,” added Rivers. “We got a small senior class, but a good one.”

The roster is filled with “young and hungry” players, who “really love ball,” according to Rivers.

“It’s a fun team to be around and I am excited to see,” said Rivers. “We lost a heck of a senior class, but the youth we have mixed with a strong, small senior class, I am looking forward to the season.”

2022 Record (notable wins, losses):

  • 5-5
  • 49-41 win vs. Orange Beach
  • 49-6 win vs. Wilcox Central

Key players:

  • Martin Corte, RB
  • Zach Taylor, DE/TE
  • Gunner Rivers, QB

Corte, Taylor and Rivers make up the veteran presence on the Cardinals. WKRG spoke with Corte and Taylor, who are embracing the leadership role.

“Really, we almost have a whole new team because most our kids are young,” said Corte. “A lot of the starters are going to be young this year, so it’s really just training them up and getting them ready.”

Corte added the weight room is big point of emphasis this offseason. Taylor says the team has taken a different approach to spring.

“Since the beginning of spring, I personally and I think the whole team has gotten a lot more focused,” added Taylor. “We are kind of getting the goal together of what we’re looking at and what our goal is and that is to get through area and then work our way into the playoffs.”

Key Matchups:

  • vs. Bayside Academy (region) — September 8
  • vs. Satsuma (region) — September 21
  • @ Jackson (region) — October 20

Link to full schedule.

Who’s next:

Tuesday will feature the Elberta Warriors. Follow along WKRG’s “33 teams in 33 days” throughout the next five weeks. Each team will be featured during the 6:30 p.m. newscast on the weekdays and during the 10 p.m. newscast on the weekend.

Full “33 teams in 33 days” schedule: