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With football season just over a month away, New Albany is looking to build on its success from last season. Leading the way is a talented senior class.
“The seniors got together in the spring and talked before practice started, and just said that this is our last go-around and our last summer workout, so we’re showing up and giving it our all; doing what we’re supposed to be doing, and when we’re done, then we can go and enjoy our summer,” quarterback Spencer Day said. “We’ve had a really good turnout every morning, and we’ve been working hard.”
Not many may have expected the success the Bulldogs had last season, finishing at 9-4 and making it to the second round of the playoffs. Though they lose several key components, including seven all-division selections, this year’s senior class boats plenty of talent.
Running back Boston Newsome is among those returning, and after posting a team-best 1,502 yards on the ground last year, hopes to claim the school’s rushing record, currently held by Jeremy Cannon.
“We’ve lost about three offensive line, and it showed in the spring game, but we were still able to come out on top in that game,” Newsome said. “I set a goal because I want to be that person to set the rushing record at New Albany, and I have a great chance to be able to do that this year.”
Day enters this season as the experienced quarterback, but has a new set of receivers to work with. Finishing the 2011 season with 1,377 passing yards and 16 touchdowns, Day has seen progress with this year’s group through seven-on-seven workouts last month.
“We’ve been working and some guys have been staying after and working, letting me throw to them,” he said. “We’re getting better; not a smooth transition at all, but these guys are working really hard, and they’re doing their best to catch up to me. I’m just doing my best to get them the ball and do the best as possible.”
Defensively, the Bulldogs lose its top tackler in Riley Alef, but not far behind are Brady Barnes and Austin Howard, who were second and third respectively behind Alef last year.
“Riley and Creek [Josh Creekmore] are huge losses for us on the defense, but we’re trying to get these young guys experience and just let them hop in and play,” Howard said.
This senior class has much more to play for this season. With the offseason events surrounding Head Coach Ron Price and his family, Day said the team has come together for one common goal.
“Without a doubt, this season is dedicated to Mrs. Amanda and her family,” he said. “The winter was really tough on the team, and like Coach Price tells us, we’re his family, and we truly feel that way. As seniors, we’re trying to step up and take as much responsibility as we can, so we can give Coach Price a break. He has some things he just doesn’t need to worry about right now, so we’re trying to lead, and hopefully we can do some good things for her this football season.”
The success of two years ago is still with this group, as some saw significant playing time as sophomores during that 13-1 season. The trio believes that this 2012 squad is just as capable of that success and are ready for the challenge.
“It will take leadership and more seriousness and dedication, not only for us, but for this younger group so they can continue the tradition and be good after we leave,” Newsome said.
Added Day, “We’re returning a lot of starters, and it’s there for us. Nothing is given to you in football, or in life, but all we need to do is just show up and work hard every day and dedicate it to one common goal. That goal is set, so we’re just going to chase after it.”
New Albany completed seven-on-seven workouts last month, and fall practice will start on July 30. The 2012 season opener is on Friday, August 17 against Ripley.