Sparta's storybook football season

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  • Sparta High School freshmen huddle after the final game of the season, undefeated, and not scored upon during the entire season. (Photo provided).

  • Sparta High School Freshmen Football Team coaches.

By Jane Esposito

Undefeated and unscored upon is not something that happens often in high school football, but the Sparta High School Freshmen Football Team did just that: They ended their first year of high school football, with a perfect record. Their success was the result of talented kids and coaches collaborating to make Sparta High School (SHS) football history.

Although over the decades, many of Sparta High's football teams had undefeated seasons, no other SHS Football team was undefeated, and also unscored upon. All season Spartans dominated, with 229 unanswered points, and a formidable defense that simply shut down opponents.

Sparta High School Freshmen Football Head Coach John Procopio highlighted the season stats: ”We had 2,249 yards of total offense and gave up only 336. We had 92 total first downs, gave up 27. Created 15 turnovers and had 28 sacks."

Last year, as 8th graders, the boys were brought together as a mix of Spartans and Bears after the Bears Football Program disbanded. They worked hard early in the season to blend as their 8th grade season progressed.

"We didn't win a lot of games last season, but then we came back this season to be undefeated," said captain and quarterback Mike McGovern. "Together we showed we can do great things.

Procopio noted that the coaching staff “knew they were a special group because they came into summer camp focused and ready to learn.”

Some of the players have older brothers or friends who they saw achieve state championship status with undefeated seasons.

"The coaches spent a lot of time teaching us and pushing us to do our best," said captain and wide receiver Paul Gennat.

Captain and lineman Billy Quinn said their coaches taught lessons off the field, too.

"Together, we worked really hard and made Sparta High School football history," Quinn said.

Assistant Coach Brown said the players are “very coachable."

“There was never a time when you could say it was just a few players making all the plays," said Sam Esposito, the team's running back.

Varsity Head Coach Frank Marchiano called it a "storybook season."

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