The Samuell Spartans had one of their best seasons in a long time - going 8-4 and getting past the first round of the playoffs. The bad news is that was one of their best classes in awhile and they will only return 9 lettermen from that group. Coach Pierce always fields a competitive team and you can usually expect pretty good things from Samuell. Although the returning talent isn't quite what one would hope for in a super successful season, there is some young talent that will provide hope.
Defensively, only two starters return - and Mark Jones is the best of the bunch. The defensive lineman is getting college offers and could be a great player. The offensive side of the ball, however, is a little more solidified. Coach Pierce is very excited about sophomore QB Jalen Richardson. He could make a huge impact this season and for the next couple of seasons. Randy Gipson and Evyn Branch return for the running game. Samuell prefers to run it but can throw it around if necessary. Eric Killman and Kristian Graves anchor a pretty salty offensive line for the Spartans.
With the closing of Spruce, Samuell is definitely a playoff team - however, I do not see them getting past the first round. Lincoln will likely be the district champion and Spruce will have to hold off Hillcrest and Bryan Adams for the second spot. I don't think Samuell is at any risk of not making the playoffs; however, this season will not be nearly as good as last season. For Samuell, the future may be bright in a year or two, but for now - it is back to the drawing board and likely a first round thumping out of the playoffs.