'I guess you can call it football in the spring': How a New Jersey high school’s lacrosse an
(photo via pressofatlanticcity.com)
For football players, the spring season lacks the exhilaration fall delivers every weekend. The off-season prompts the question of how they can hone their athletic abilities and stay in shape. A spring sport is the answer for 12 of the 17 members of Holy Spirit High School’s lacrosse team in Absecon, New Jersey.
Other than playing under Tuesday night lights in May, the 12 team members have found few differences between lacrosse and football – which is in conjunction with the Spartans' new head coach, Charlie Roman, who also serves as assistant coach to the football team.
As the previous head football coach – who led the team to three state championship victories – Roman came to the lacrosse program this year with little knowledge in coaching the sport. The one thing he did bring to the team was his football background, which is suitable for a team that most consists of football players.
“It’s something that the football kids are used to,” Roman told The Press of Atlantic City. “We wanted to create more of a football culture around the lacrosse team. It’s something they quickly responded to on game days.”
RELATED CONTENT: How to fuel your tank as a player during the offseason
In preparation for games, the team practices three times a week and shares a weight room with the football team. Although there is an imbalance in the ratio of players who don’t play football, the athletes have a close bond and push each other to their potential. The junior and senior team members have been a positive influence on the underclassmen.
“All of the football players are nice, and their chemistry is great,” said freshman Sam Phillips.
On the other hand, the football players have had the opportunity to learn and appreciate the game of lacrosse. Many of them, including sophomore star running back Elijah Gray joined the lacrosse team after intrigue while watching a game.
RELATED CONTENT: 5 ways to keep excitement in your football program year-round
Despite his beginner status as a coach, the team’s 9-4 record this season means the Spartans have compiled more wins this year than the past four years combined. Competing in the South Jersey Non-Public B class, the Spartans will know by Monday where they are seeded for the playoffs.
Coach Roman’s strategy for success with the football players who aren’t as experienced in lacrosse is the expectation of hard work and effort from his players.
“If you’re not going to match the skill level of (other teams) who have played a lifetime of lacrosse, then you have to play harder,” Roman said. “It’s the only way you have a chance to win.”
RELATED CONTENT: Multisport athlete spotlight: How Michael Carter excelled in football and track
Bringing football to the lacrosse program has brought noticeable enhancements not only to the team, but also the players individually. Best said by sophomore Luke Spotts, “I guess you can call it football in the spring.”