SALEM, Va.- – When you're doing things right, people notice.
"You see a lot of teams in Roanoke. If you're disciplined, you'll get your wins," Patrick Henry receiver Trey Divers said. "Like Salem, they're disciplined, win a lot of games, go to state championships."
In southwest Virginia, everyone knows who the Salem Spartans are. The football legacy built under Stephen Magenbauer came to a pause in March when he retired.
Now, the team is being led by former Spartan assistant Don Holter.
"I love coach Holter," junior center Alex Haley said. "The way he makes us work hard and makes us great every day. [He] wants us to be better every single day."
"I grew up in this community. I was fortunate to play here as a high school player before I went away for college. This is a great community," Holter said. "I had a great relationship with the kids prior to [Magenbauer retiring]. We've been working together for four or five years. So yeah, it's always great when you can have those things."
The Spartans scrimmaged William Byrd on Friday and looked like they hadn't missed a beat.
"I thought we were flying around, getting physical. We had a few misalignments and things like that, but the effort was there," Holter said. "We just need to increase the execution and the consistency in everything we do, offensively and defensively."
After an unconventional finish in 2018 in the first round of the playoffs, the Spartans are ready to get back to their standard.
"We're part of a tradition. We do the same thing every year. But we're working a little bit harder than we were last year," Haley said. "Last year, we got a little bit lazy and sloppy, and we're going to be ready this year."
"It all comes down to effort and execution, and we need to keep that consistent in everything we do," Holter finished.