Updated Sun, Aug 17, 2014 9:58 pm
As Portsmouth’s head coach Jason Sparks begins his second year with the Trojans, Sparks hopes to see his team continue to improve during the 2014 season, which will be their final season in the SEOAL, before moving to the Ohio Valley Conference in 2015.
Last season, Portsmouth finished 3-7 overall, and have not had a winning season since 2009, which is something that Sparks and his staff desperately want to change.
“[Portsmouth] has been a historically-winning program and we are trying to get back to those roots,” Sparks said. “When you have a few years of non-success, it tends to rub off in every aspect.”
When he took over at Portsmouth last year, Sparks wanted to establish a foundation for his football program and with that continue to build off of the blocks they built each season.
One of the ways Sparks wanted his players to develop more is their physical strength, which was lacking last year. Portsmouth implemented a new weight-training program at the end of the 2013 season, and the overall results, along with the improvement in their work ethic, has left Sparks and the rest of the coaches very pleased.
Aside from the head coach’s perspective, the Portsmouth players—including senior center and middle linebacker Michael Sturgill—have seen differences from this season to last.
“The team definitely has more hustle this year than last year,” Sturgill said.
As a small-town high school team, the Trojans preparations for their games start with the support of the Portsmouth community.
“It’s about harnessing the positivity energy because that’s what we are trying to do,” Sparks said. “We are growing and with that we are having success here and there.”
As Portsmouth continues to grow, senior quarterback Sky Oliver and his young offensive line have been working on their chemistry all month long in preparation for their first game against the Valley Indians on Aug. 28.
“There will be a lot of jitters at first,” Oliver said, “but once we get through that, we’ll be fine.”