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Springwood aims pair of winning streaks on Friday

When Springwood football makes the roughly two-hour journey south to take on Abbeville Christian for its season opener, the Wildcats are putting a pair of winning-streaks on the line. 

Springwood is coming in riding a seven-game winning streak against the Generals that span from 1993 to 1999. 

A lot has changed in the 21 years since the two schools matched up, especially since none of the players that will play in the game were alive in 1999. In those two decades, there have been 13 head coaching changes and both teams have nearly identical win totals, as Abbeville Christian has 104 wins compared to Springwood’s 101. 

While Springwood hasn’t played Abbeville Christain in 21 years, its head coach John Gartman has faced the Generals twice in his coaching career. Gartman, who was an assistant coach at Escambia Academy at the time of the games, came out on top in both matchups.

“They were very tough,” Gartman said. “They have a bunch of tough, country kids that regardless of how talented they are, and they’ve had talent in the past. They’re going to get after you. They’re going to play tough and get after you. What I know for sure is that we’re going to play a tough team.”

In 2019, the Generals finished 3-8 and lost in the playoffs to the eventual 1A Champion Southern Academy. 

Abbeville Christian runs the spread offense and throws on most of the time. Even though the Wildcats have film on the Generals in previous years, they are focused on implementing their own system instead of worrying about what the Generals did in 2019.

“Mostly, we’ve been working on ourselves,” Gartman said. “We’ve seen film on them from last year, but you never really know what you’re going to see. We don’t want to be chasing ghosts. Their key players could have changed or picked up a couple of new players. We’ve worked on them a little bit, but not as much as we would if we were playing a team we had game film on from this year, where we can be a little more certain on what we’re going to see.”

On offense, Springwood will continue to run the Wing-T offense. While the Wildcats have simulated what defensive fronts they could see, they are more worried about executing their plays instead of reacting to what the defense could potentially do.

“We’re going to continue what we do, so it doesn’t matter what we’ll see defensively,” Gartman said. “Being a Wing-T team, you won’t really know what you’re going to see until Friday night.”

Springwood is also riding a four-game season-opener winning streak, which Gartman hopes the team will continue on Friday.

“It’s’ nice to give you some momentum,” Gartman said. “Hopefully, we can get off to a good start against Abbeville.” 

Springwood’s opening kick is scheduled for 7 p.m. CT on Friday at Abbeville Christian.