2023 Football Preview: Spartanburg
The 2022 Spartanburg Vikings finished the season with an 8-5 overall record, and 3-1 in the Region. The year came to an end in the Quarterfinals on the road at eventual State Champion Dutch Fork. The Vikings graduated an incredible senior class which featured a few 3-year starters on offense – QB Raheim Jeter, RB Drek Carter and WRs Andrew Danton and Que Moore. 3 year starting DT Cam Jackson has also graduated so you would think this could be a rebuild year for Spartanburg.
Not So Fast!
The 2023 Spartanburg Vikings have a ton of excitement built around them centered around the well talked about Junior Class. This was the group that went undefeated in 2021 at the C team level which included a win over Dutch Fork.
New starting QB T.J Johnson has a connection already with fellow Junior WR Justin Rice. The two have synched up multiple times already in the scrimmages and expect Rice to have a monster season. Mr. Everything Jr. Calvin Choice will line up everywhere including in the backfield…Viking fans will see him in a Damyjai Foster type roll. Throw in the experience of Sr WR Ra’el Senghor and Sr RB Trey Harris, and the Vikings will once again have a large group of skill position players for Johnson to share the ball with. Oh…did I mention that Johnson is an incredibly fast runner?
The Vikings will have some new faces up front as they’ll be replacing 4 starting OL from last season. There are multiple lineman though that have experience to due some injuries last season so it shouldn’t be too much to handle early on. Coach Hodge recently pointed out how strong this group is up front.
Defensively – If you haven’t heard of LB Cam Smith, well I’m not sure where you’ve been. The Jr had 125 tackles last year as a Sophomore in just 12 games. He’ll line up next to fellow Jr Peyton Jones who started multiple games last year as well. Put this group along with a couple of Sr Safeties Charles Woodruff and Demario Bookhart who looks like he added a ton of muscle this offseason and this defense has a ton of experience and big time athletes with incredible speed…especially at CB.
What may be the scariest thing for Viking opponents is the return of DE Damien Coats who in 2021 was a dominating force on the DL that year but missed last season. He’s back and many who have seen him argue he’s the best DL they’ve seen since Louis Rogers.
When Mark Hodge is your head coach, expectations come high even if you have to replace as many starters has the Vikings did. But if Coach Hodge’s demeanor gives us any clues, the Vikings are primed for a big season.