There is a rich football history in Springhill. A Heisman trophy winner played here. An NFL rookie of the year donned the black and gold of the Lumberjacks. State titles were won.
First year head coach John Ware recognizes this history. And he is appreciative.
While there is no more Springhill High School, Ware said the community support he has seen for the North Webster Knights is special.
"There is still a lot of history on this end of the parish for football," he said. "There aren't a lot of places in the state where you get that. It's really not like that everywhere. This is one of those special places where they are going to support you."
Ware is no stranger to schools with a storied football legacy. He played on state championship teams in Haynesville for Red Franklin. He went on to earn another state title ring as the defensive coordinator of the 2000 Golden Tornado state championship squad.
"It's pretty neat," Ware said of now being the head coach at North Webster, which has played Hayesville nearly every year for some 100 seasons. "This feels like home. It's been exactly like I thought. There's a lot of support and people wanting to help."
The Knights will begin official practices soon, and Ware said there may be some two-a-days in order to work out the kinks that come from a coaching staff transition.
"Everything is here to make a good football team," he said. "It's just a matter of getting them all on same page and getting to know each other. That goes for the coaching staff and players. That's the hardest adjustment when you come in. "
Ware plans on running a three-man front defensively, and use a variation of the Wing-T offense. He has coached at Haynesville, Bolton High School (in Alexandria) and North Caddo.
He was the head coach and defensive coordinator at North Caddo the last three years, helping the Rebels improve from a 1-9 record his first season, to 5-5 the next year and a 7-4 record last season. Last year, North Caddo made the playoffs and were ranked #16 in the state.
"I'm looking forward to the season," he said. "We have to have a lot of things happen for us to win, but we feel like we can get there."
Springhill will participate in a four-team jamboree on August 24. Other teams include Homer, Lakeside and Grambling. The event will be held in Homer.
The Knights open the season at home against Haynesville on August 31.