Hillcrest High School and Sparta Academy will kick off their football seasons later this month, and both schools will pass a few milestones during the 2015 season.
This season will be the 27th season off football at Hillcrest, which fielded its first team in the fall of 1989, that is, about eight years before most of the seniors on this year’s team were even born.
Hillcrest enters the 2015 season with an overall record of 114-157-0. The program’s all-time home record stands at 63-72-0, and Hillcrest’s all-time record in road games is 51-85-0.
When you take that into account, Hillcrest’s game against Cottage Hill on Oct. 16 will be the 280th regular season varsity football game in school history. The Oct. 30 game against Greenville will be Hillcrest’s 140th all-time home game at Brooks Memorial Stadium in Evergreen, and the Oct. 9 game at Bayside Academy will be Hillcrest’s 140th all-time game on the road.
This season will also mark the first season for Clinton Smith as Hillcrest’s head football coach. Smith is the seventh football coach to lead the Jaguars since the 1989 season, coming on the heels of Larry Boykin, Maurice Belser, Arlton Hudson, Dennis Anderson, H.L. Watson and Doug Barfield. The average coaching tenure at Hillcrest for the head football coach is 4.3 seasons.
This coming season will be the 45th season of football at Sparta Academy, which fielded its first team in 1971.
Sparta enters the 2015 season with an overall record of 219-248-4. The program’s all-time record at home stands at 118-109-2, and Sparta’s all-time record in road games is 100-137-2.
Considering those records, Sparta’s game against Lowndes Academy on Oct. 9 will be the 480th regular season varsity football game in school history. The season opener on Aug. 21 against Hooper Academy will be the 230th all-time home game at Stuart-McGehee Field in Evergreen, and the Sept. 4 game at Crenshaw Christian will be Sparta’s 240th all-time road game.
One interesting note about this year’s schedule is that the Warriors won’t be playing Escambia Academy. Escambia is Sparta’s longest running rival, and prior to this season the two schools had played each other every year since 1971.
Another interesting note has to do with Hooper Academy. Sparta will open the season against Hooper this year, and that game will mark the first time that these two teams have ever meet in a regular season football game. I think this is remarkable because Sparta and Hooper have both been around for decades, and they’re not far from each other geographically, so it’s a wonder that they’ve never played before.
This season will also mark the second season for Sparta head coach Justin Chandler. Past coaches at the school include Jack Akins, Mike Bledsoe, Richard Brown, Robert Cumbie, Clint Floyd, Michael Gaylor, Mickey Goneke, Donnie Griggers, Don Hand, Rob Kelly, Chuck Ledbetter, Clint Lowery, Bill McNair, Buck Quarles, Mike Sims, Gerry Watson, Daniel Wilson and Keith York. The average coaching tenure at Sparta for the head football coach is 2.4 seasons.