New Era Begins
Chris Miller is entering in his 4th season as the Head Coach of the Spartanburg Vikings. Since his arrival, the names on the back of the Navy, or White, or Gold (at times) jerseys have been pretty much the same. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve had guys graduate, but we’ve come to expect to see the name Feaster above the #28 jersey. We expect great things from Scott…and Scott. We know Louis Rogers is going to live in the backfield, Mike Murphy will leap high into the air for a pick, and opposing RBs should avoid a stocky LB named Byrd because he’ll hit you harder than most.
On August 19th 2016, it’ll be time to learn some new names as the next wave of talent plans to make its imprint on Vikings history.
In my 7th year of calling Viking football games, I’ve never seen us have to replace this much fire power on both sides of the football. But when I review our roster to memorize the names and numbers, I see some familiar ones who I believe will be stars in their own right and it starts with the very deep junior class.
Friday night, Viking fans will see a #1 running routes and think that looks a lot like Tavaris Scott…who just happen to catch 104 passes last year alone. But the new #1 jersey belongs to Tommy Washington. Yes, our punter. But make no mistake, Washington is a stud. He is physical, incredibly tough, and will be a go-to TE for our QB William Yex. Don’t be surprised to see Washington line up on Defense some as well…he’s that gifted.
You know the name Damyjai Foster, an incredibly quick CB and WR…and RB…and Kick Returner…and Punt Returner. Number 5 does it all and he will be asked to play a ton this season. WR Romain Kelly is 6’2, 190lbs and can flat out jump. These three JUNIORS are ready to step up and form their own history.
Spartanburg high school has had some great Linebackers over the years. The Byrd family has sent us many, and Viking fans of course remember Anthony Simmons. But there’s a name you know that is ready to become the face of the defense. Last year, Connor Shugart as a sophomore, picked off Dorman QB Collin Hill to preserve a huge win for the Vikings over the Cavaliers. As a junior, Shugart is being asked to be the leader and playmaker for this defense. I have no doubt in my mind he will be.
Junior NT Satorian Mobley returns as a 2nd year starter and Strong Safety Thompson Rudolph won the spot in just a few practices after moving over from QB.
This junior class has a wave of talent, but all eyes will be focused on the new starting QB, senior William Yex. Yex had an excellent offseason with his work in the 7 on 7 tournaments shinning through. The big question is how many of the throws we saw Austin Scott make for 3 years can Yex make as the new gun slinger for Chris Miller. Well, thanks to Region play being the only factor in playoff status, we’ll get 6 games against very tough opponents to find out beforehand. So let’s be patient with Yex, and all the new faces of the Spartanburg Vikings. Remember, as talented as the last wave of players were, in their first year as starters, we went 6-6. I’m not saying that’s what we’ll do this year, but let’s be patient…and have some fun.