The Spartans proceeded to win a playoff contest as well against Sequoyah.
South Paulding benefited with one of the most productive senior classes in Georgia last year behind Paulding County Player of the Year and Kennesaw State-commit Chandler Burks, who threw for 2,468 yards in the air, rushed for 1,476 yards and accounted for 42 total touchdowns.
The Spartans also graduated running back Jae Bowen who had 1,995 total yards and 32 total touchdowns, along with their top two tacklers a year ago, Jack Young and Khalia Hackett.
The Spartans have begun the process of replacing these standouts by productive summer workouts.
“Our kids have shown up and worked hard,” Spartans’ head coach Ed Koester said. “We’ve had good attendance and used the summer for conditioning in addition to prepare for training camp in August.”
South Paulding will hand the reins of the offense to a new starting quarterback, rising senior Jake Oglesby.
“Jake has been a step ahead of everybody at the position and we’re very happy and content with the things he can do,” said Koester.
Oglesby said, “I’m leading the team as well as I can and there’s been progress throughout the offseason.”
Koester also had high praise for rising juniors LJ Pope, who had six touchdown catches last year, and Anthony Brown at the wide receiver position.
Rising senior safety Trevon Simmons is the top returning tackler for the Spartans with 78 total stops last year.
“We’ve worked real hard to prepare for this season and doing what we can to help the team,” said Simmons.
Despite the turnover on the roster, expectations are still high for the Spartans’ program.
“It’s a new time for kids to step up,” said Koester. “I want us to be a contender and make the playoffs. Our kids can be as good as they want to be.”
South Paulding opens the season against Sprayberry on Aug. 22.