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Sparks are Reignited

The expectations had never been higher than they were for the South Park Sparks football team in 2016.

South Park (6-3, 4-2) was coming off a state championship in 2015, the first in BPS history but in 2016 they fell short of making the Class A playoffs.

Even though he was disappointed in how the year ended, it gave head coach Tim Delaney perspective on just how far the program has come.

“If I look back five years ago it would be awesome to be 6-3 because it would mean that we’ve come a long way,” Delaney said. “But since we were coming off some very successful seasons, it was tough. I think the kids coming back are working hard off that.”

Senior De’vonte Fountain, like many of the returning Sparks, is using the results of last year to motivate him for 2017.

“It was a wakeup call for us,” Fountain said. “Not making playoffs last year affected us in a good way because now we all have the motivation and dedication to not lose a single game and make back to playoffs where we should’ve been last year.”

Fountain is an explosive player that has caught the eye of scouts. The senior is a Division I-AA level prospect. The 5′ 9″ wide out and defensive back made Second Team All-WNY last year.

Delaney is expecting Fountain to have a big year for the Sparks.

“He’ll be a captain for us,” Delaney said. “He’s a physical, fast, and explosive kid that has done some great work in the offseason. We’re excited to see what he does.”

Seniors Shyquan Brodie and Donte Ridgeway have also been working hard over the offseason and should be big for the Sparks this year.

Brodie will be part of the recovering core with Fountain. Ridgeway is a defensive end who has been with the program for four years. He is also a leader on special teams.

South Park also returns some younger pieces in junior Latrell London and sophomore Dylan Farner. London contributed in both the backfield and at linebacker last year. Farner started the last four games of the season at center.

The Sparks lose last year’s leading rusher in Shakur Harris to graduation.

Even though the varsity didn’t fare so well in 2016, the program saw the JV team have a strong year. They went 8-0 last season outscoring opponents 235-40.

Among those players now coming up to the Varsity are QB Dabeyon Humphrey.

Delany has high hopes for his young quarterback.

“He’s a good runner and thrower,” Delany said. “He has come into his own as a young man.”

Fountain is excited to lead the young Sparks this year. He plans on making sure they know what South Park football is all about.

“I will make sure they know that we have some business to get done on the field,” Fountain said. “I want to show them what real leadership looks like so they will have motivation to put all their effort in during practices and games.”

Also coming up are sophomores RB/LB Clarence Thomas and WR Brandon Brown.

Coming back to South Park this year is lineman Jeremiah Sanders. Sanders played for Timon last year but transferred back early this summer after the resignation of AD/Head Football coach Charlie Cumerford. Sanders is also a two-time First Team All-WNY.

In 2017 the goal is to get back to the playoffs but now they know nothing will be handed to them.

“We want to win our division and get back to a sectional title,” Delany said. “Our expectations is that we go out and play well in order to put ourselves in a good position.”

South Park opens the season at Hamburg on Friday September 1st at 7 p.m.

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