LATHROP – Going into the second season under their new identity, the Lathrop Jr. Spartans are poised to continue to build a foundation that will help create successful high school student-athletes.
The Jr. Spartans abandoned their longtime mascot, the Titans, to embrace a long-term relationship with Lathrop High. The youth football program jumped at the opportunity to play the role of the feeder program to the high school Jr. Spartans.
A season ago, the team opened its inaugural campaign as the Jr. Spartans, landing a playoff berth with the junior varsity squad. Now, the program is back in the hunt and the Delta Youth Football League better take notice.
“We are pretty good with our numbers on the novice team with about 42 players on the roster,” Novice head coach Johnny Alonzo said. “The area where we are struggling is on the varisty team.
“We definitely need some more numbers up there.”
The Jr. Spartans will open their season at different times over the next two weeks, with the novice team getting their season underway Saturday at Franklin High in Stockton in the jamboree. The junior varsity will start Sunday at Franklin, with the varsity beginning the following Sunday at Edison in Stockton.
The Jr. Spartans have also implicated a tutoring program available to all the players in the organization. Players who have shown struggles in their academics are strongly advised to take advantage of the twice-a-week, two-hour optional study program.
“The tutoring actually came about from one of our ex-coaches from a while back,” executive board member Anthony Hernandez said. “We were seeing kids going to the next level and not being able to play at high school. We wanted to teach them to get good grades here so they could master it at the next level.
“It will hopefully help them get themselves into a university and get that education.”
The Jr. Spartans have succeeded in establishing their new identity as the face of Lathrop’s youth football, and the club is settling in for the long haul as the future foundation for Lathrop High football.
“It really helped us that the community really got behind the high school,” Hernandez said. “Everyone loved the idea of changing to the Jr. Spartans. It was difficult because we had all the old gear and some traditions set in place, but everyone embraced it.
“We’re the only team in Lathrop, so it’s our job to make sure everybody enjoys themselves and we put on a good show.”