Game Time! Spartan Football Season Kicks Off Friday!

Jonathan Biggs

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As summer lives out its last month in 2010, students can all feel football season creeping upon us. That’s right, another Spartan football season has snuck back on campus and — this year — onto a new, $1 million-plus, synthetic turf field. With new head coach Tim Cokely and his staff — and a motivated GACS varsity football team — the Spartans are ready to rock and roll.

The GACS Spartans take on the region AAA Columbia High School Eagles on Friday, Aug. 27 in an interdivision game to kick off the 2010 season.

The season opener features a reconstructed Spartan football team that is coming off of a couple of disappointing seasons, going 1-9 last season and 4-7 in 2008.

This year’s squad is missing some key players from last year, including Julian Horton, a wide receiver and defensive back, who set the GACS single-season record for receptions with 51 last year. He’s now playing at the college level with the Arkansas Razorbacks. Also gone is Beaux Herbert, a quarterback who now plays football for Nicholls State. Herbert set the single-season record for passing completions, connecting 123 times last season for the Spartans.

Head coach Tim Cokely is a fresh addition to the program. With years of successful experience, including six state championships in Florida, Cokely hopes to turn some heads back toward the Spartan football program — some heads that the Spartans might have lost over the past few seasons. This year’s motto — “A cord of three strands is uneasily broken” — is a passage from Ecclesiastes 4:12.

“By working together, our synergy makes us a strong force, not only on the field of battle, but also in the game of life,” Coach Cokely said.

As for the Eagles, they are entering this season hoping for much better results than last year, when they finished 3-7. The program’s history includes a rocky 0.466 all-time winning percentage with two region titles. Allen Mario enters his second season as head coach of Columbia.

This will be the first time these two teams have ever squared up against one another. Preparation for a team the Spartan’s have never faced is key, and the coaching staff and team that did the better job of preparing will be revealed in Friday’s game. Based on last year’s record for the Spartans (1-9) and the Eagles (3-7), not much of an outcome can be easily predicted for this game. Both teams are coming off of disappointing seasons. The Spartans are hoping to turn a program around that just hasn’t won many games over the past couple seasons. Similarly, the Eagles have a relatively new coach in Mario who is also aspiring to lift up a football program that has seemed lost recently.

It’s the first game of a new decade, it’s Senior Night at GACS, and fans are looking forward to the brand new playing ground they are calling Reynolds Field, which will be dedicated in honor of the late Christian coach Charles “Chub” R. Reynolds at 7:15 p.m. before the game. This is an important opportunity for the two squads to pick up a big win to start out 2010, especially considering the fact they both are coming off losing seasons.

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Game Time! Spartan Football Season Kicks Off Friday!