T.J. Albert and his Community School of Davidson football team had to grow up fast last season.After taking on a primarily varsity schedule in their first year of existence, the Spartans took their lumps, going 1-9 overall. Their only win came in Week 3 against Pine Lake Preps junior varsity team.Last year we were worried about all the little details, from the colors to the jerseys to just getting a full team on the field, said Albert, who had 26 players on his first roster. This year it is all about football. Weve had a full off-season of work, gotten in the weight room and just gotten used to playing together. I think it will show on the field.That effort begins with a Spartans team that returns all 22 starters on a roster that has grown to 42 players, including 17 seniors.The entire teams singular focus as the season begins is to get their first official varsity victory. They know it wont be easy, with a schedule opens against Bishop McGuinness Aug. 23 at North Mecklenburg.The nonconference slate also features First Assembly (Aug. 30) at home and Davidson Day (Sept. 20) on the road.Then the Spartans will take on their first Southern Piedmont 1A conference slate: Bessemer City Oct. 11, Thomas Jefferson Academy Oct. 18, Highland Tech Oct. 25, Cherryville Nov. 1 and Pine Lake Prep (Nov. 8).Were all excited about being in a conference that is a great fit for us, said Albert, whose team will play three homes games at Hopewell and three at North Meck High. Our goal from Day One will be to win the conference. As a competitor, if that isnt your goal, then you shouldnt be out here.Albert expects the offense to show the most improvement as they move from the Delaware wing-T to the pistol spread formation. Senior quarterback Garrett Hart (5-11, 185) is back to lead the offense.Hart started the first two games of last season before being ruled ineligible because of grades, After earning straight As last semester, Hart is ready to prove he can be just as good a playmaker and leader for his Spartans team.I am super-excited to be back on the field and ready to show what I can do, Hart said. We are really looking good and clicking together right now. We all cant wait to get on the field.Hart will have a lot of help in his backfield. Sophomores Joey Bernardini, at tailback, and fullback Chad Ferrell, who missed most of last season with an ACL injury, are back to lead the running game.Meanwhile, senior wideout Jarrett Burke and sophomore Justice Woods, whom Albert calls a future star, as well as North Meck transfer Monquez Moore should give Hart three strong targets in the passing game. Sophomore tight end Nick Piselli (6-1, 210) should also be a factor as a receiver and a run blocker.The Spartans offensive line also should be better, with all five starters back. Its led by senior Holden Bailey (6-4, 275), who is being heavily recruited by multiple Southern Conference teams, and Zac Ware (5-8, 165), who can bench-press 300 pounds.Last year was a struggle at times on offense, because we were a new team and we had several key players out, Albert said. I think we will be a lot better (on offense) because everybodys back and we have a better system in place.Albert said defense was the strength of last years team and held its own in a lot of games.Bailey leads the defensive line at nose guard, while Piselli, Bernardini and Ware make up the heart of the linebacking corps to round out a solid front seven in the Spartans 3-4 look.Seniors Ike Gordon, who also started at quarterback last year, Sam Pillsbury and Jake Wolyniak as well as sophomore Matt Babb will patrol the secondary.Our defense is going to be a big key for us, Albert said. We have to be able to stop people.While the learning curve will still be high for a Spartans team with a tough schedule, Albert and company believe they have made big strides and will make more in Year Two.We had to learn a lot of things the hard way last year, but I think we took a lot from those struggles, Albert said. We went from very young to very seasoned overnight. We are ready to go and get that first win.
Friday, Jul. 26, 2013
Community School of Davidson hopes to have strong second year
Community School of Davidson Coach: T.J. Albert (1-9 career). 2012 record: 1-9. Starters returning: 22 (11 offense; 11 defense). Can’t-miss games: Aug. 23, Bishop McGuinness; Sept. 20, at Davidson Day; Nov. 8, Pine Lake Prep. Key players: • QB Garrett Hart: 5-10, 185, senior: Starting QB returns in what he expects to be a big season for himself and his team. • OL/DL Holden Bailey: 6-4, 275, senior: Standout on Spartans’ offensive and defensive lines wants to show he can play at the next level (has drawn a lot of interest from the Southern Conference).
Jay Edwards is a freelance writer for the Lake Norman News. Have a story idea for Jay? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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