But, with a win under its belt — its first in four years — the Spartans (1-3) are already beginning to show signs of new life.
After starting the season with a 55-7 loss to McIntosh Aug. 30, North Springs achieved the breakthrough that it long sought as it ended its 34-game losing streak with a 35-34 victory over Hapeville Sept. 7.
It was the Spartans’ first win since defeating Stone Mountain by forfeit Oct. 16, 2009. Their last non-forfeit victory came when they beat Lithonia 23-20 Nov. 7, 2008.
“It was a big deal,” North Springs coach Steve Horton said. “We actually had the entire stadium storm the field like we won the Super Bowl. For these kids and this community, it was a long time coming. We’ve got a great group of kids who work their tails off, so the kids deserve that.”
North Springs’ winning streak was short-lived, however, after losing to crosstown rival Riverwood 34-16 Sept. 13.
Even with the loss, there was a silver lining for Horton as his Spartans stayed competitive with a strong Raider squad through most of the game. It further boosted the hopes of a North Springs community that was still buzzing in the aftermath of the team’s memorable win over Hapeville.
“We went to Riverwood and played them tough,” Horton said. “We came up on the losing end, but we played them tough. The support we had in the stands at Riverwood was amazing. This is a community that’s excited about what’s going on in our football program and winning definitely helped our cause, that’s for sure.”
Now, after a bye week last week, the rebuilding Spartans face their toughest test yet when they host state powerhouse Kell in a Region 7AAAAA crossover game at Thermopylae Stadium Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Things are certainly looking better on offense for a North Springs team that is averaging 19 points a game so far this season after scoring only five per contest a year ago.
Junior wide receiver Brandon Cameron, a transfer from Alabama, has teamed up with junior quarterback and fellow newcomer Tyler Reid to give the Spartan offense a big boost.
“[Brandon] is a phenomenal young man to coach,” Horton said. “He’s given our offense a spark and Tyler has done a great job of getting him the ball and anytime you’re moving the football and there’s some semblance of hope, it makes everybody go hard.”
However, the Spartans have shown there is still work to be done defensively, with an undersized unit allowing 41 points a game through its four contests.
North Springs will now have to find a way to be competitive against a Kell squad that is 4-0 and has averaged 34 points a game.
“It’s a tall task,” Horton said. “It isn’t easy walking into that situation and for us, what we’re trying to do is to tell the kids [is], ‘You know what, guys? This is a measuring stick. Let’s see where we have come from. Let’s see what our goals are, because Kell is the type of the program down the road that we would like to emulate.’”