Louisiana evacuee now member of Wildcat junior varsity football team
Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor

Sept. 16, 2005 - One of the things Sulphur Springs coaches noticed about Marcell Satchebell when he showed up two weeks ago ready to play football was his attitude.

Always a smile on his face, he was excited to be a Wildcat.

"I see this guy come in and I don't know what to expect, but he had a smile on his face and said he's ready to play football," recalled SSHS head coach Brad Turner. "He's always got a smile on his face, and I think he's happy not to be where he was."

That would be New Orleans.

Satchebell, a junior at Sulphur Springs High School, and his family left New Orleans before Hurricane Katrina hit when the first evacuation was signaled.

They came straight to Sulphur Springs, and if it's up to Marcell, this is where they will stay.

"The day before the storm, my grandmother was on the internet looking for a Holiday Inn hotel, and the one in Sulphur Springs was the closest one," he said, adding that he, his mother, grandmother and two sisters (Angelique, 18, and Jazmine, 12) traveled together.

"I plan to stay for the rest of the school year. My mom is talking about going back, but I want to stay here."

Where Satchebell lived, there wasn't as much flooding as in other parts of New Orleans, though there was substantial wind damage. The family hasn't been back to assess what is left.

After leaving their home, they spent two nights at the Holiday Inn, then stayed at the Wesley United Methodist shelter before finding a home outside the city limits.

They are starting over in a new place, but he has found friends and camaraderie in football. He plays defensive line on the junior varsity squad.

When the JV and varsity teams stayed late on Monday and did a bear crawl across the field, several seniors who had finished their work gathered around Satchebell, urging him on.

"It helped me fit in that I played football," he said.

Turner said because of his attitude, Satchebell was quickly embraced by the team.

"Since the day he got here, he's had nothing but a good attitude, and he's had every reason to be sour. He lost everything that he had. I don't know if this is an escape for him, but I think it is," Turner said. "Our kids have really taken him in. It didn't take long for it to seem like he's been here all along."

Satchebell said it's easy to have a good attitude because he feels he's been blessed.

"I feel like it was a blessing in disguise. It gave me a new start, a better school, a better situation. It's a lot better than New Orleans," he said. "I always have a smile on my face because of that - because I feel like it's better. I don't really miss New Orleans too much."

He wants to stay in Sulphur Springs, graduate from high school here and then go to college to major in history with an eye on being an anthropologist.

In the meantime, he is helping the Wildcats with his play, and maybe more importantly, with his attitude.

"Stories like that are what makes coaching high school kids so great," Turner said. "He's having fun. He's not a Division I recruit at this point in time, but he's certainly having fun playing and being a Wildcat.

"He's a pleasure to have and we're sure enjoying him right now."

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