Whether it’s games, recruiting, practicing or just general discussion, football season never really ends in Statesboro.
That sentiment is about to be further reinforced as the semi-pro Statesboro Spartans prepare for their inaugural season.
Last year, the East Georgia Rebels — based out of Millen — were wildly successful, making it to their league’s championship game played at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas. The Rebels have packed up shop for Savannah, leaving a hole in the immediate area.
Cory Williams and Terrence Andrews coached for the Rebels last season and are now set on building the Spartans.
“A lot of guys (from the Rebels) still wanted to play, but they couldn’t make that trip to Savannah,” Williams said. “We’re also combining with the Tri-County Panthers out of Screven County to help form the Spartans.”
Plenty of veterans are already on the roster, but the Spartans are still looking for more talent.
On March 7-8, the club will hold open tryouts at the RAC fields at Georgia Southern. Participants can expect to be put through speed and agility drills similar to what is seen at the NFL combine.
There will be a $40 registration fee for all individuals participating in the tryout. If selected for the team, additional dues of $10 per month will be required.
“We aren’t trying to make this an expensive hobby for anyone,” Williams said. “We charge to supply uniforms and to provide insurance to our players. Other than that, this is all about guys who love the game and want to continue playing.”
The newly-formed Spartans will be competing in the similarly brand new Extreme Third Coast Football League (X3CFL). The league has 14 teams ranging from Tennessee to Florida.
“Almost every team has played in a semi-pro league before,” Williams said. “From an organizational and financial standpoint, I think this will be a strong league right from the start.”
The league may be semi-pro, but there are some lofty aspirations amongst many teams. In these leagues, it’s not uncommon for standout performers to receive invitations to work out for arena teams or the Canadian Football League.
And whether a player is trying to kick start a career or just playing out a few more seasons on the gridiron, there is no doubting the commitment — and joy — that goes into each practice and game.
“These guys love to be out on the field,” Williams said. “We have fun and we enjoy ourselves, but when it comes down to it, this team is all about competing and winning football games. We’re looking for tough, athletic guys who can help us do that.”
The season begins July 19 and will feature a 10-game regular season with games being played each Saturday. Following the regular season, the playoffs will conclude with a championship matchup in mid-October.
The Spartans have the framework of a solid team, but are still looking for a field to call their own. They would like to play their home games inside the city, but may have to vary the locations of their games or venture out of town to find an open venue.
For more information on the team, visit the ‘Statesboro Spartans’ page on Facebook. More details about the Spartan’s league can be found at x3cfl.com.
Mike Anthony may be reached at (912) 489-9408.