Fresh off the best season in the program's history that saw them win the Southern Alberta Championships, the Strathmore High School Spartans football team is right back to work with their spring camp, which began last Thursday.
Head Coach Danny Warrack is looking forward to building the program to even greater heights, and looks forward to seeing the returning players improve while also adding fresh new talent.
"We had a lot of guys who had a great off-season and then quite a few new players coming out. Some are new to football, some come from the Badgers, we're really excited about those guys coming in," he said.
A successful season last year means higher expectations this year, but Warrack says his team will be ready for the challenge. The early signs are promising, as their first team meeting had around 40 players, and more are expected to join as the season goes on. For reference, last year's first team meeting had around 25 players, which eventually grew to 40 by the end of the year.
Last season was Warrack's first as the head coach, and he said the players didn't take the offseason seriously enough which resulted in a poor start to the season. This season Warrack noticed the players took that message to heart and put in the work needed to take the team to the next level.
"As a program we had our best offseason ever, we had 10-12 returning players really buy into the offseason training program. Everyone else bought in somewhat as well, but some were maybe busy with their other activities or sports, but there's some guys that are looking really good, put on some much-needed strength and size. 10-15 pounds of muscle goes a long way."
As for Warrack himself, he said he's been working on how he can improve as a coach on his debut year and what's needed from him to help elevate the roster.
"I spent a lot of time this offseason trying to refine my game as a coach and definitely think I've made a point to improve as a teacher to teach the concepts to the kids, teach them the right way, and also be a better communicator. We're running a new offense that I've spent a lot of time designing over the offseason that I think was tailored to a small-town program that maybe isn't always the biggest team in size and all that, so we kind of had to come up with a system that we think could work against whoever we're playing."
In the same way that football is a team sport and no one player can win it all, Warrack has also taken that approach to coaching, as he's spent a lot of time learning from other coaches and also bringing in guest coaches for spring camp, such as ex-Spartans who have played at a higher level, Warrack's friends from the football community that have a lot of experience, and more.
To help fundraise for the team, Warrack said the team will be doing a bottle drive later this afternoon at around 1:30 p.m. after practice, and asks that the community keep an eye out for the football players and support them if they can.
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