SPRINGFIELD TWP. There’s hitting the reset button and then there’s what the Springfield Spartans are facing this season.
In a world where continuity and experience are valuable commodities, the Spartans will be in short supply of both. New head coach Dave Bosko takes over from Kevin Vaughn after the latter stepped down a few months ago to focus more on his duties as athletic director and with his family.
Bosko inherits a depleted roster in the sense that Springfield graduated a large, capable senior class that filled most of its starting spots on both sides of the ball.
"We have an entirely new coaching staff, with one starter back on offense and two on defense," Bosko said. "We graduated a ton of kids and we’re trying to get to point of having competitive challenges for playing time."
Quarterback is one position where a new face will appear - or more specifically, two new faces. While coaches often want to settle on one quarterback and hands the reins of the offense over to that signal caller, Bosko not only believes his team has two capable options; he plans to utilize both.
"We have two quarterbacks, Kevin Brown and Logan Woods, who are both tremendous athletes who can play any position on offense," Bosko said. "The will both play and both play quarterback."
One area that both quarterbacks may have questions about it the offensive line, if for no other reason than having to replace four graduated starters.
An offensive line that is 80 percent new will have to give a 100-percent effort in order to compete with the pas rushers and interior linemen they’ll face early in the season.
"We say the offensive line is the heartbeat of the team and we lost so many offensive linemen from last year," Bosko said. "They’re working hard to get prepared and they come in even on their days off."
The first-year head coach described the attitude of players thus far to be extremely positive and focused. His hope is to see the defense establish a hard-hitting personality.
The kicking game is another facet of the Spartans’ question to get past the .500 mark and kicker Eric Ford and Brown as the long snapper could provide valuable points in close games.
They - and the entire roster - have heard doubts from those on the outside.
"Our expectations are high, but for number of reasons, people say we’re going to struggle to compete," Bosko said, noting that such doubts only steel the Spartans’ resolve.
Two games immediately jump out on the schedule, one being the season opener at Ellet. The neighborhood rivals are separated by a few short miles and with Springfield entering the game holding the rivalry’s trophy, The Boot, for the first time in several years, expect there to be a chip on Ellet’s shoulder for that battle.
Likewise, Coventry and Springfield have their own burgeoning rivalry and Bosko believes there is a plenty of emotion n both sides of that one.
"Our kids have not such a nice feeling for Coventry, so that’s a game that means a lot for the kids," Bosko said. "I actually don’t think many teams like us, which we don’t mind."
The question entering a new season is once they find out just who they are as a team, will the Spartans like what they see in themselves? Both their new head coach and overhauled roster believe so.
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