Packers hope for great season

Published 5:18 pm Tuesday, August 31, 2021

By Niqko Marshall


Back in the spring, the Smithfield High School Packers were able to get a couple of games under their belt. Those two games went a long way, considering other schools throughout the country weren’t able to have a season at all. Those matchups came against York High School and Warhill High School, and the Packers finished the spring 1-1.

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In his second season with the group, Coach DeVondre Bazemore is hopeful for a strong season to get back to as normal as possible. With uncertainty in the air back in the spring, Bazemore was essentially on a crash course with his group to get them ready to play while simultaneously trying to build the foundation for his program. With no offseason leading into the spring as a first-year coach, the focus was more on the basics. After the spring season and now being able to have an offseason and a camp, Bazemore is feeling good about the chemistry his team has been able to build on. Bazemore has felt that the pandemic has given he and his team a newfound appreciation for the game of football and in turn has created strong bonds among the team.

“Everything was so fast last year,” Bazemore said. “Especially with it being my first year. These guys have been working that much harder. We have found ways to try to turn the pandemic into a positive. We came together and bonded together. We just wanted to find ways to keep building on what we were able to do in the spring.

The Packers are expecting some returners to carry over the things they were able to do during the spring. Behind center, quarterback Cade White looks to lead the Packers offense, as he will be in his senior season. Senior Charles Spratley will also look to be an impact player for Smithfield, while Justin Goodin, Bailey Oliver and Dereyon Goodwin will also be expected to do some good things. The motto for the Packers has been just going 1-0 each week. Bazemore believes if Smithfield can focus on going 1-0 each week, they will be where they want to be at the end of the season.

“If we go 1-0 every week, hopefully, that means a state championship for us,” Bazemore said. “That’s every team’s goal right now, but it truly takes a week-to-week approach to get there. We don’t want to be looking too far ahead or be worried about things out of our control. Let’s just buckle down each week with that one opponent and keep trying to build.”