Thursday, April 22, 2021
Sparta’s Nick Kent races past a pack of West Salem defenders during their 2019 contest. Herald photo by Nate Beier.

The Kids Are Back On The Block

Sparta makes long-awaited return to the gridiron

There is one day left before the Sparta Spartan football team takes the field again to begin their spring season.

The anticipation has been building for Sparta’s return to the field after being shut down just two days before playing what was supposed to be their fall opener.

It’s safe to say that the Spartans are eager kick things off and especially ready to show folks in the area that their program was more than a flash in the pan when it comes to success.

They will be facing off against Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau Friday night when play resumes.

G-E-T, which  is a run heavy, physical team and will be a great first test for this Spartan football team. The Red Hawks won the Coulee Conference in 2016 and 2017 and claimed the South Central Conference title in 2019 as they and Black River Falls were moved to that league for a singular season.

The Red Hawks asserted themselves as one of the area’s top teams beyond league play as they qualified for a Level 3 playoff game. 

G-E-T is bringing back one of their two 1,000 yd rushers from two seasons ago in Luke Vance. This is a run heavy team that will try to grind it out of you.

When asked what the keys to success in this game will be, Sparta head coach Adam Dow said, “This is a quality football team that likes to punch you in the mouth over and over again.”

“We need to not turn the ball over and give them extra possessions. We also need explosive, game changing, momentum shifting plays offensively. We have been really good at getting those momentum shifting plays over the past couple seasons and we will need some

this game.”

Offensively, coach Dow wants to see communication and speed from his linemen.

Dow wants to see how his offensive line communicates with each because that will make all the difference.

Dow said, “I always preach this to my linemen. You can be an All-American lineman, but the rest of your line could be not so great. That is why communication is key and executing together makes all the difference.” Coach Dow wants to see good communication between the 11 players on the field when they have the ball.

Dow wants to keep the speed on offense on 100. Dow also wants to keep the tempo in their favor Friday.  

Defensively, the team needs to communicate well, but coach also wants to see high energy and effort levels.

Coach Dow said, “When we play good, we are flying around to the ball, communication with each other and playing physical.”. 

Where Dow wants to see the most communication is with his young secondary. They aren’t a seasoned bunch but Dow wants to see his group in the defensive backfield talk with each other, communicating by passing off routes and letting the linebackers know about crack blocks heading their way.

PREPARATION WITHOUT PREPARATION

As the game approaches this Friday, Coach Dow said one of the biggest differences in preparation this year was not having a scrimmage.

Most coaches use their scrimmage reps to evaluate different players across a number of positions prior to playing their opening contest of the year. This year some schools managed to scrimmage, but most chose to go into the opening week of play cold turkey.

 Dow said, “Not playing against someone else, assessing our players and having those position battles has been difficult when figuring out who our top players are and where we have depth.”

Well, this Friday will be a test for the whole team as they prepare for G-E-T.

Dow wants to see who his contributors will be this season and will use this first game as a way of doing so. Coach Dow and the players are excited to get this season going and thankful they get to play under the lights come Friday.

Friday’s contest will start at 7:00 p.m. and will be livestreamed for those who aren’t able to attend.

Evans Print & Media Group

1302 River Rd.
P.O. Box 252

Sparta, WI 54656-0252

Office Number: (608) 269-3186
Fax Number: (608) 269-6876
Email: 
news@monroecountyherald.com

 

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