Spartans put together season of success
The South Caldwell Spartans’ football team put together a historic season in 2012.
The Spartans claimed their second straight Northwestern 3A/4A Conference championship and their first-ever undefeated regular season. South advanced to the playoffs for third straight season, only to lose in the second round to Sun Valley 56-35. The Spartans won their opening-round game 17-14 over Hopewell.
“Our success was a team effort by the coaches and the players,” said South head coach Butch Carter. “We have guys that understand the system. We get a good turnout at our offseason workouts. We take pride in what we’re doing.”
Leading South Caldwell all season was junior running back Zac Pollard. Pollard made history on multiple occasions this season. He broke the school record for single-game rushing yards four times. Pollard last broke the record in the playoff loss with 366 yards on the ground. Pollard also holds the school and county record for single-season rushing yards.
The conference Player of the Year is eighth all-time in North Carolina with 3,073 single-season rushing yards. Currently, Pollard has 4,459 yards for his career, good enough for second all-time in Caldwell County. He stands just 382 yards away from the county record held by Hibriten’s Steven Ferguson (1992-95). Pollard also needs 2,338 yards to crack the top 10 in career rushing yards in N.C.
“You can’t mention Zac Pollard without the offensive line,” said Carter. “They got him to the second level, and he took care of business from there. He is a tremendous young man and valuable to leading our team.”
On the defensive side of the ball, NW 3A/4A Defensive Player of the Year Cody Bowman helped the Spartans record five shutouts throughout the season. The senior led the team with 81 solo tackles and 146 total stops. South’s defense as a whole led the conference in virtually every statistical category.
Next season, the Spartans return a talented group of starters on both sides of the ball. The entire right side of offensive line along with Pollard, quarterback Trevar Soles and wingback Andrew Tilghman will return. That kind of firepower should have the Spartans in contention for a third straight conference championship.
“You can’t replace experience,” said Carter. “We’re very fortunate to have some seniors that have been there taking the team on their shoulders.”
The Spartans are losing some key starters in Bowman, Issac Tilghman, Owen Williams, Jordyn Propst, Clay Welker, Tyler Barber and the other half of the offensive line. However, the South Caldwell junior varsity team finished undefeated in 2012 and had just one loss in 2011. So there is some promising talent to step in and fill some key roles at the varsity level.
“It is a hard transition to make from junior varsity to varsity,” Carter said. “It’s a different level of play. The offseason will be vital in developing athletes.”