Spartans football returns young team

Spearfish’s Cade Lyon runs with the ball after making a catch during a game in the 2018 season. Pioneer file photo

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SPEARFISH — The Spearfish football finished 2-7 in 2018 and the 2019 Spartans are hoping to improve on that record.

“Last season was tough. We were really young,” said Chad McCarty, the Spartans head coach. “We had nine freshmen playing pretty consistent. Again this year our numbers are down a little bit. The good thing is those nine freshmen are now sophomores and a year older and stronger.”

McCarty said he is excited about this year’s team.

“We’ve got some great guys coming up. We have Jacob Johnson returning. He’s a two-sided all-state player from last year as a junior, and now he’s a senior. He’s a great leader. We have a good bunch of seniors. We’re still going to be young, but we have some good older guys to lead us,” McCarty said. 

There is still a battle going on for the starting quarterback job between sophomore Peyton Millis and junior Sean Wenzel.

“We’re still trying to find out who wants to take the reins at quarterback, and then we have those young receivers and running backs that are back, so things are looking up,” said McCarty. “We obviously hope to improve off that 2-7. That’s the goal anyway, with guys like Cade Lyon, Austin Crotteau, Derek Webster, and some of those guys returning we should be better this year.”

The Spartans began practice on Aug. 15.

 “The first week of practice wasn’t bad. We were working on some timing. We changed the offense up a little bit. So now we are just trying to get our timing back down, and motions, and get everything rolling,” McCarty said. 

Saturday at 9 a.m. the Spartans will host a Jamboree with Sturgis Brown and Douglas at the Spearfish practice field, behind the high school.

McCarty said the Jamboree will give coaches a better idea what they need to improve on.

“We’ll have our Jamboree here on our field with Sturgis and Douglas, and see where we are at,” McCarty said. “The biggest thing is we want to eliminate mistakes. Being a young team that’s the key to everything. If we jump offside, if we false start, or missing an assignment, those are the kinds of things that kills our drives, and hurts us. Offensively we want to minimize mistakes, and defensively we minimize mistakes and make sure we are lined up correctly and we are in the right spots.”

The Spartans face another tough schedule starting at Yankton on Aug. 30. They host Custer on Sept. 6 and Mitchell on Sept. 13 before going to Rapid City to face St. Thomas More on Sept. 20.

The Spartans return home on Sept. 27 to host Pierre T.F. Riggs, travel to Douglas Oct. 4, host Belle Fourche on Oct. 11, go to Brookings on Oct. 8 and end the regular season on Oct. 24 hosting Sturgis Brown. 

“We just have to play our game. We open with No. 2 Yankton, then we’ll have No. 1 Pierre for homecoming, and then Mitchell comes to play us a couple of weeks later. I think our schedule is as strong as it’s ever been. The only Class AA team we don’t play is Huron. That’s the way it should be. We play our size, our class, and we’ll just get after it and see where we are at,” McCarty said.

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