Things look a lot different these days for South Park football than they did just two years ago when the Sparks shocked New York and won a state championship. The goals though, they’re the same.
After missing the playoffs last season, South Park is looking to return strong this season. And having one of the youngest rosters in Section VI sure won’t be a deterrent.
“We’re going to do something,” said junior quarterback Deabeyon Humphrey, after he threw three touchdowns and two two-point conversions in Thursday night’s 42-0 win over Amherst at All-High Stadium.
“We’re working hard, everyone’s working well together. A hundred percent, we want to get back to the playoffs and do some damage.”
So far, so good for South Park, already 2-0 on the season after defeating Hamburg and Amherst by a combined 74-7 count. The Sparks are young – with just 10 seniors on the team and underclassmen holding many of the key roles.
“We have a lot of guys up from a JV team that went 8-0 last year,” Sparks head coach Tim Delaney said. “We’re excited to see what we can do.”
A talented sophomore class features the likes of running back Clarence Thomas, who ran for a TD and caught another score against Amherst on Thursday, as well as receiver Brandon Brown,
The offensive line is young, with two starting sophomores, but has been impressive with the return Jeremiah Sanders, a star on the state championship team that returned to South Park this season after spending last year at Bishop Timon.
While a 2-0 start is always a good sign, the Sparks also know the schedule is getting tougher. It starts in Week 3 with a trip to Pittsburgh to take on Perry Traditional Academy at 2 p.m. next Saturday. High school football is a big deal in Western Pennsylvania and the Sparks are ready to take on the challenge.
“We’re really excited,” Delaney said. “It’s something we’ve been looking into for a while now and we finally found a match-up that works for us. They’re a city school, similar to us in size. And they beat their Week 1 opponent (Carrick, Pa.) 49-0 so we know we’re in for a challenge.”
The schedule gets tougher when South Park returns to league play with a showdown against Class A contender McKinley awaiting on Sept. 23 at 1 p.m. at All-High. That’s followed by games against strong Iroquois, West Seneca East and Lake Shore teams.
“We knew it was a good schedule for us to open up against but it’s going to get harder,” Delaney said.