Salem, Va. – Like many other teams across the state, its been a long 3 months for the Salem Spartans.
“Not being able to work with them to prepare and do the grind since March has been difficult,” Salem head coach Don Holter said.
But they’re glad to be back, 3 times per week, pushing hard to perfect their craft.
“There’s no date set for the season to start but we’re going to be prepared,” Holter said.
And all signs are that the Spartans will need to be. despite winning the past 10 match-ups, there’s a new wrinkle in an old rivalry with Pulaski County. With Mark Dixon now at the helm in Dublin. The Cougars will surely be roaring once the kinks are worked out.
“Coach James had taken huge steps there and turned Pulaski into where it belongs- an elite program. So I think all of that makes the transition easier,” Pulaski County coach Mark Dixon said.
“We’re excited about playing them. Coach Dixon is a heck of a football coach, I know that. I’ve never met him personally but have a lot of respect for him and the things he’s done at Galax.,” Holter said.
The rivalry dates back to the days of two hall-of-fame coaches in Willis White and Joel Hicks. Each had lasting effects on two communities that continued the prideful tradition for Cougars and Spartans football.
“Longtime Salem football fans and Pulaski fans can remember. They remember 1984-85, Salem went 9-1 and didn’t make the playoffs and the only loss was to Pulaski and vice versa. You had to live with that all year,” Holter explained.
Coaches Jack Turner and Stephen Magenbauer picked up where they left off with more playoff runs and state titles. And now Holter and Dixon are due to write the next chapter of this storied rivalry...keeping football hungry fans hopeful for another rumble in the jungle.