David Mitchell commentary: Spencer on track for its best finish in 36 years

dmitchell@ledger-enquirerOctober 16, 2013 

Everybody, get out your historical calendars and flip all the way back to Nov. 4, 1977.

It’s alright if they don’t go that far back. I can just explain the significance to you here.

That was the day Spencer High defeated Baker at Columbus Memorial Stadium for its seventh and final win of the season. The Greenwave finished 7-3 that year. It was the last time they finished a season with a winning record.

Think about that.

That was nearly 10 years before I was born, 18 years before the seniors on this year’s Spencer squad. In that time, we have seen six new presidents, the end of the Cold War and the advent of commercial internet.

We have also seen 33 losing seasons for the Greenwave, including six winless seasons, and two seasons in which they finished 5-5.

Why am I telling you all this?

Because at 4-2 and riding a three-game winning streak, Spencer is in arguably its best position during that drought to finally finish with a winning season.

Don’t get me wrong, nothing is written in stone yet.

The road has a few hurdles, and it’s possible that Spencer falls short again. Its final four contests include games against Bowdon and Heard County, hands down the top two teams in Region 5-AA. The other two are against Chattahoochee County and Kendrick, both 2-4.

After Calvin Arnold took over the program last season, the team showed plenty of improvement, winning three games and contending for a playoff spot in its final game against Kendrick. The team did it with a high-powered offense, which has carried over to this season.

It is the defense, though, that has seemed to be the difference this season. Whereas the team allowed less than 30 points only three times and less than 20 just once the entire 2012 season, it has already matched the former statistic and surpassed the latter.

It is 3-1 in Region 5-AA, good enough for third place, and owns the tiebreaker with fourth-place Bremen.

The significance of the possibility that Spencer ends its streak of futility and makes the playoffs for the first time since 1993 cannot be stressed enough. Nor can the incredible job Arnold has done at the helm be praised enough.

One coach told me before the year that Spencer would be the most improved team in its region this year. There’s still a ways to go, but the Greenwave is certainly on the right track.

Other teams in the area have the potential of taking big leaps in 2013, as well.

At 4-3, Russell County has its most wins since 2005 and is one win away from clinching its first playoff berth since 2001. The Warriors have not had a winning season since they won 10 in 1998. A 2-1 finish in their final three would end that streak as well.

Russell County’s success coincides with the hiring of Demond McCoy, who is also in his second year at the helm.

Other surprising teams in the playoff hunt include Pacelli (5-1) and Jordan, which has only two wins but is 2-3 in the region. It would be a surprise if the Red Jackets broke into the top four, but to simply be alive after 26 straight losses deserves notice. Follow David on Twitter @leprepsports or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ledgerenquirersports.

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