Springers’ JV numbers second to none
Highland Springs was the area’s No. 1 team in 2018 from the preseason to the end of the regular season, going 10-0 and outscoring its opponents by an average of 50-4. But the Springers may not be the Richmond area’s most dominant high school football team. They may not be the best team in their own school.
The junior varsity Springers just wrapped up a 10-0 season and outscored their opponents by an average of 58-1. They recorded eight shutouts, won one game by a score of 94-0 and claimed another by forfeit.
This isn’t anything new for the JV Springers. They’ve won 40 consecutive games dating back to 2015. That year, they fell on the road at Hermitage 35-14. On the bus ride back to Highland Springs, coach Fareed Saunders told his players, “You’ll be back over here when it matters most.”
Saunders was right. Last year, Highland Springs’ varsity team went to Hermitage for a third-round playoff game. The freshmen in 2015 were now juniors on the varsity. Highland Springs won 24-14 and went on to claim its third consecutive state title two weeks later.
The 2017 varsity Springers surprised the state as a practically new team won a state championship. Of course, they were a dominant junior varsity team the year before. Current quarterback D’Vonte Waller threw for 33 touchdowns as a sophomore on the JV.
The Highland Springs junior varsity now has a roster of 55 players — 30 freshmen and 25 sophomores. As the football rosters at other schools shrink, the numbers at Highland Springs remain healthy and strong.
Saunders credits his varsity coach, Loren Johnson, for putting an emphasis on junior varsity football. It’s not uncommon, Saunders said, to see the varsity staff at a JV camp or a 7-on-7 game. And the JV prepares the same way the varsity does.
“A lot of [the program’s] success starts there,” Saunders said.
Plus, Johnson is a physical education teacher, so he sees the JV kids in school, keeps an eye on them and encourages them. Saunders works at nearby Fairfield Middle.
Saunders became the junior varsity coach in 2013 and has recorded four undefeated seasons in six years. Much like the varsity team, the JV Springers spread the ball around numerous players.
Sophomore running back Jordan Jackson, sophomore quarterback and receiver Jamareeh Jones and sophomore defensive back Damond Harmon are just a few of the junior varsity players who will be prominent names on the varsity next year, Saunders said.
While the Highland Mike Henderson
Bird coach Troy Taylor were both a part of that