SMITHFIELD, N.C. (WNCN) – Smithfield-Selma head football coach Deron Donald was warned two years ago when he was deciding whether or not to take on the challenge of leading the Spartans program.
“It was one of those things where people told us you’d be a fool to take on that job,” said Donald. “Because at the time they were saying it’s one of the worst jobs in the state of North Carolina.”
“But we knew there was something special here and with a lot of prayers and talking to my family and wife we decided it was something we wanted to take on.”
And the results have been amazing. In his two years at the Johnston County school, the Spartans have won more games than the past ten years combined.
The handful of seniors who decided to stick it out and play for their school when they could have gone elsewhere are now reaping the benefits.
The Spartans are six and three overall and four and two in the Quad County 3A Conference. Those four league victories equal the school total conference wins over the past 11 years.
Growing up with Smithfield-Selma football has not been easy.
“We just came to play football over there by the bleachers,” admitted senior kicker Luke Jenkins. “We didn’t even come to watch the game because we knew it was going to be a 50 point blow-out. But it feels like that’s all changed now.”
But still, there is work to be done. For years the middle schools around Smithfield-Selma High School have produced talented players. Trouble is, they never became Spartans.
“Everyone needs to stay around, stick around, and not transfer out,” said senior linebacker/wide receiver George Brewer. “If everybody buys in and does like coach says we’ll be as good as we are now. Even better.”
As for now, the Spartans are reveling in their newfound success.
“It’s nice to have a little respect around the school and not be the laughingstock anymore,” smiled Jenkins.