Spartans look to rebound from down season

Spartans look to rebound from down season
August 10
14:44 2022

The Mt. Tabor Spartans had a down year last season based on their usual standards, going 4-5 overall. Spartan head coach Tiesuan Brown was not pleased with the win/loss record but was happy with the development of several players and is very optimistic about the Spartans bouncing back this year.

The Spartans moved from 3A to 4A last season and the step up to another level of competition was apparent. The young men were able to put in a lot of work this offseason in preparation for the year.

“Everything went well … we just needed to get in the weight room,” said Brown about the offseason. “Moving from 3A to 4A was a jump for us and we didn’t have a real offseason going into it, so just to get them guys back in the weight room, building that comradery, that team instead of me complex, and the weight room does that. It gives kids confidence.

“We had a great offseason. We got a couple new pieces, but we got a lot of old faces that got a lot of experience last year and we are ready to roll.”

The Spartans won the state championship during the spring adjusted season in 2021, so to only win four games last season was not what Brown and the staff were hoping for.  

“I was extremely disappointed,” said Brown about last season. “I coach this game to win. I don’t coach to be mediocre, but we had a lot of unfortunate things that happened to us throughout the season and it was just a little bit too much for us to bounce back after having that 11-game run in the spring and having that quick turnaround. We had some unfortunate things that happened to us at the school, so it was a lot to bounce back from.”

Brown always has high expectations for his team. He feels this year’s team has the talent to compete on a high level.

“We are going to come out and compete every game,” he said. “We feel like we have a really good team. We got a senior quarterback, Semaj Reaves-Smith. When you got that guy on your team, he can make things happen. He’s a hard worker, he’s a warrior on the field, and he is going to give you everything he’s got and that rubs off on the other players on the team.

“We’ve got some dynamic dudes on the offensive side and I feel like I have a really strong defense this year.”

The Spartans lost some dynamic players from last year’s team, but Brown feels he has some playmakers and guys in the trenches that can come in and fill those roles

“On offense we lost Noah Marshall and Lance Patterson, but with the Peterkin brothers, we really don’t miss a beat… both of those guys are dynamic,” Brown said about losing some of his senior leaders. “Jamarien Peterkin, which they call him JP, he’s coming back off of 1,000 yards from last year.

“Between him and Samaj, when Lance went down, he became our number one target, so that was a great experience for him. And his brother Snook Peterkin – his name is Shamarius, but they call him Snook – he’s dynamic. He’s got offers as a freshman and to me, he’s one of the best players in the state. This guy can really get it done.  

“Offensive line, we got a three-year starter coming back, two time all conference Austin Pittman. He is going to anchor our offensive line and we are 300 lbs. across the board.”

Brown stated that Mt. Tabor has always relied on their defense to win games and this year is no different. He says they have a really strong defensive line with players like Deity Diablo, who Brown called a ‘specimen,’ and looks for him to make big plays on the defensive line, along with playmakers Chris Atkins, D’Ivory Puryear and Kevin Frazier.

The standards at Mt. Tabor are high every season, so Brown knows four wins is not good enough. He says even though they had a down season, the Spartans will still get every opponent’s full attention when they play them.

“We are Mt. Tabor, regardless of what our record was last year,” Brown said. “We were in every game going into the fourth quarter. The difference between last year and this year is we have more depth. We created depth throughout the summer and the spring.

“Last year, we had a lot of guys going both ways and in a 4A-heavy conference, those guys don’t go both ways, so we kind of got worn down in the fourth quarter. We really worked on that to create depth and we are going to be ready to go. And nobody sleeps on Mt. Tabor, we are going to get their best shot every time.”

The Spartans will kick off the season with a clash against Richmond County. The Spartans fell to the Raiders in a high scoring affair in last season’s opener 56-41. Brown is from that area so that gives him a chance to return home to play in front of family and friends.

“I am from Richmond County – that was one of those games I wanted to go back and play in front of my aunts, my uncles and my father. I still have a lot of family down there and they get a chance to kind of meet my team.

“Last year, it was a high scoring game. We had our opportunities to tie the game up and possibly win that game, but the ball didn’t bounce our way. This year, we are feeling good going down there. We know it’s going to be hostile territory, but we feel like we got an experienced enough team that went through it last year and we are going down there to make some noise.”

For Brown and the Spartans’ coaching staff, the growth of his players is paramount. Wins are great; however, the growth of his team and the progression of his players is more important to him.

“It’s not a win/loss thing,” he said. “I know we started off one season one and four and ended up winning 10 straight games, so it’s all about becoming a team and loving one another. I got a thing that I always say here at Mt. Tabor about the three As: being all in, all together, in all three phases. As long as we come together as one, we are going to be fine.”

Brown started his coaching career as a JV offensive line coach back in 2004 and has risen through the ranks to become a head coach, so he has paid his dues. He is also one of the most respected coaches in the Triad area and says he tries to treat everyone with respect and has never lost touch with his roots, which keeps him humble.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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