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Jr. Spartans focus remains on preparing players for next level
The Lathrop Jr. Spartans junior varsity hits the sled at Lathrop High School. - photo by DAVE CAMPBELL/The Bulletin

Lathrop Jr. Spartans president Jaime Hernandez has a vision.

He would certainly like to win, but more important than that, he wants to see that his players and cheerleaders are ready for the next level.

“That is what we always stress,” said Hernandez, who founded the youth football organization in 2000 as the Titans. “We had a parent meeting and we emphasized that this program is established to teach these kids – both football and cheer – the fundamentals to prepare them for the high-school level.

“That is our philosophy.”

With his junior varsity squad making it to the Delta Youth Football League Super Bowl the last two seasons, Hernandez has high expectations of this year’s varsity squad.

“We made it to the Super Bowl the last two at junior varsity,” Hernandez said. “And now those boys are at the varsity so we are looking forward to another competitive year.”

Hernandez indicated that all four of his squads – junior novice, novice, junior varsity and varsity all have around 25 players on the roster.

“We are ready to compete,” Hernandez said. “Our lowest numbers are at the jr. varsity level with 19, but we have more walking on every day.”

This will be the sixth year as the Jr. Spartans in the DYFL, and the first with a geographical rival in the North Conference as the Weston Ranch Jr. Cougars enter the league this year.

Lathrop competes in division-specific jamborees are Saturday, Aug. 16 for the novice at a venue to be determined; at Kimball High School in Tracy on Sunday, Aug. 17 for the junior varsity; the varsity on Saturday, Aug. 23 at Chavez High School in Stockton and the junior. novice will be at Chabot College on Sunday, Aug. 24.

The Jr. Spartans host the Tracy Cougars to begin the season on Saturday, August 30.