Sparta's homecoming test: Shades of things to come

Spartans welcome in MVC co-leader West Salem

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The Spartan football team has been playing with their foot on the gas pedal and show no signs of slowing down. After a dominating win over arch-rival Tomah last week, the Spartans extended their winning streak to three games.

However, the Spartans will level up their competition in each of the remaining five weeks of play in the regular season, starting with a homecoming tilt with the MVC co-leaders, West Salem.

Sparta enters the matchup with a 3-1 overall record and a 2-0 conference record - their best start since the 2019 season. West Salem will roll into Memorial Field Friday with a 2-1 record overall and 2-0 mark in the MVC after a 21-7 win at La Crosse Logan last week.

The road to success doesn’t get easier for Sparta following this week’s ever-important homecoming contest. The remaining slate of opponents include Holmen, Onalaska, La Crosse Central and River Falls. Onalaska and Central each have one league loss, while River Falls remains unbeaten with West Salem.

Entering the season, head coach Adam Dow knew his team was going to be younger after losing a big senior class from last season. The first couple games were used to find the varsity players and the players ready to play on varsity. Now, after being battle-tested for half a season, a new crop of top-level players have been emerging.

“The speed has been the difference between now and the Baldwin (Woodville) game," Dow said. "When I watched the Baldwin game I saw about 5-6 varsity players. Now I’m starting to see 8-9 varsity players on both sides of the ball.”

So, is this team ready for the tough end of the schedule?

Dow thinks so.

“I think we are where we need to be to be competitive with those teams at the end. We couldn’t be in a situation where we are looking behind us, we need to be looking forward. (I) like the three-game win streak. We have some confidence and momentum.

"Every week we need to take positive steps and get better. I like what we have seen from the kids. They are have the heart and the energy and they are hungry. (I) can’t wait to see what the rest of the season has in hold for us.”

The Series

In 2018, Adam Dow took over the head coaching role for the Sparta football team. Dow is 1-1 against the Panthers in the two meetings the teams have had. The two programs didn’t meet each other last season as Sparta chose to participate in the alternate spring season. Their last meeting was back in 2019. The two conference foes met at West Salem, but the Spartans came out the victors in shutout fashion with a 42-0 victory. 

Sparta looks to extend its current winning streak to four games Friday night with a 7:00 p.m.kickoff.

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