In its first year of existence in 2015 the Casteel football program fielded only a freshman team that finished its inaugural season at 8 – 1, the lone loss – by one point – the result of a failed two-point conversion against Williams Field in week two.
If last year was considered phase one of constructing the Colts’ football program then Monday night – the start of spring practice – was the commencement of phase two, which includes the construction of a new football stadium and preparing for the first varsity season in Casteel’s very abbreviated history.
“(Our) intensity was good, our focus was good, players were competing and having fun,” head coach Spencer Stowers told Sports360AZ after the Colts’ first-ever spring practice. “I think it’s nice that we’re having spring football on our campus this year; last year we weren’t doing that. (There are) a lot of numbers (players), which is exciting, and the kids are ready to go.”
In February, Stowers announced his team of exclusively sophomores would play a varsity schedule in 2016, a decision some believe is unprecedented. The opportunity that lies ahead increased the anticipation leading up to Monday’s start.
“It feels good to get back out on the field and have good intensity,” linebacker Jehrt Flitton said. “It’s a good starting point for the season.”
The challenge of competing in their first varsity season has increased the players focus, intensity and attention to detail. Nearly to a man, the Colts want make opposing teams pay for overlooking them just because they’re a team of underclassmen.
“We want to prepare for our enemies as best we can,” linebacker and defensive captain Luke Musselman said. “They’re coming after us being a first-year (varsity) school; they don’t want to lose to us. We definitely don’t want to lose to them; we want to show (being) a first-year school (that) we can do it.”
“Everyone thinks that because we’re a new school that we may not be as good as them,” running back Casen Simonton added. “I just want to go out and prove everyone wrong.”
Regardless if it’s a team’s first-ever spring practice in preparation for its first varsity season or a team that’s won nine state championships, there are things that need to be accomplished during the next couple of weeks.
“I want to see a lot of intensity and focus,” quarterback Gunner Cruz answered when asked to name two or three things he expects to see from his team in the spring. “I know our coaches and our system will get us ready to the best of their abilities, so as long as the players are on board with what we’re doing we’ll be alright.”