The Spartans are continuing their quest to turn things around in a higher classification as they begin play in Class AAAAA.After two years of playing in AAA, North Springs moves up a couple of notches to participate in the second highest classification in the state.
For North Springs coach Todd Powers, however, the challenge of building a competitive football program with its current numbers is bigger than that of competing in a higher classification.
“A lot of the teams that were in Class AAA last year have also moved up to AAAAA, so it’s not that big of a change,” Powers said. “The bigger challenge is our numbers. In my first year last year, we had 30 kids out of 1,500 kids in the school on the football. This year, we’re up to 50 kids out out 1,500 kids, but we have to get the number up to 80 to 100 kids out of 1,500 kids.”
The Spartans are playing in Region 7AAAAA, sharing subregion A with Creekview, Sequoyah, Northview, Cambridge and Forsyth Central.
Crosstown rival Riverwood is in subregion B, along with Kell, Pope, Sprayberry and Osborne.
It’s been another challenging year for North Springs (0-4), which is coming off a 48-0 loss to Kell in a 7AAAAA crossover game last Friday. One of its other losses came against Riverwood, which beat the Spartans 59-12 on Sept. 14.
Making things especially challenging for North Springs is a roster that is dominated by underclassmen.
“We’re very young,” Powers said. “Forty-two out of our 55 players are freshmen and sophomores and we have only six seniors on the team, so that’s a significant challenge. Last year, we had 30 kids and we were senior-heavy — 18 kids were seniors. We’re just working to get better every week."
North Springs continues its quest for its first win since Oct. 16, 2009, when it defeated Stone Mountain.
“It’s been hard, but things are getting better,” Powers said. “The offense is moving the ball more and the execution is getting better. We’re developing as a team. We’re building a middle school program to develop younger talent. We’re doing all the right things, but we’re still very, very young.
North Springs does have some veteran talent on offense, with senior fullback Bobby Johnson and senior tight end Xavier Landers leading the way.
The Spartans’ youth is especially telling on defense, however, with nine of their 11 starters either freshmen or sophomores.
Junior defensive tackles/nose guards Ray Martin and Khalif Kinnie lead the youthful North Springs defensive unit.
North Springs will make its latest attempt to end its long winning drought as it opens its subregion schedule at home against Forsyth Central on Friday.