Team of the Week building something special at St. Francis

Normally, St. Francis High School is a cell phone-free zone.

Not on Tuesday.

It was an all-hands-on-deck effort for the Knights to beat out bigger schools like Sprayberry -- a close second place -- for the Team of the Week trophy, so students were allowed to cast votes on their phones for the day.

"It was awesome to see that they bent the rules just a little bit for us," said Knights quarterback Josh Gil. 

"It was cool," said wide receiver Isaiah Wadsworth. "It was crazy because Sprayberry, they're a big school, and we're just a one-A private school, and we won it. We had more votes than people in our school."

Coach Frank Barden, who won a state title with Cartersville in 1999, said he came last year to build up the St. Francis program. Last season, he improved the Knights to a 5-5 finish. Now in his second season in charge of the Knights, they are 6-3.

"It's really fun because we're a small school, so for us to win this over some of the bigger schools in the state is special," Barden said. "It shows the excitement around our school, it shows the excitement around our fan base and our parents and our community." 

Being High 5 Team of the Week is just the start of what the Knights want to do going forward.

"We here, and we going to be here for a long time," Wadsworth said. "Coach Barden, he built this program from the bottom. St. Francis going to be on the map from now on."

Next up, St. Francis plays host to non-conference foe Bowdon, which is 7-2. Wadsworth said they can't make mental mistakes against a good team like the Red Devils.

"The biggest matchup is (against) ourselves," he said. "Really, we could beat ourselves. Ourselves is our biggest opponent. We just need to play how we play, not get out of our comfort zone."

"It's a big game for us because we're kind of moving up the ladder a bit as you would say," Barden said. "We're playing a really good team in Bowdon. They're a team that is very strong, has bigger numbers than we do. So it'll be a big challenge for our football team, but it'll be met by a team, by all our 11 people on the field. No one person is going to go out and take care of business. So it's been a good challenge for us, but it's a good place to be."