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Home News-Telegram Sports Helmet decals honor SS supporters

Helmet decals honor SS supporters

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The tradition of honoring longtime supporters of the Sulphur Springs ISD athletic programs continues this year.

In 2008 the football team wore the “LL” logo all the way to state in honor of Lonnie Lewis. The late Lewis was an avid supporter of the program with his daughter Maurie Lewis playing on the softball/volleyball teams.
In 2009, Sulphur Springs head coach Greg Owens announced the team will wear helmet decals with the initials of deceased fans. They are “NS” for Nathan Spataro and “CW” for Carroll “C.W.” Bradford.
Bradford died earlier this month in San Angelo at the age of 80. He was a 1947 graduate of Sulphur Springs High School. He was a longtime teacher in the Dallas school district until his retirement in 1984. He was very active in the Sulphur Springs athletic booster club.
Spataro, 21, of Sulphur Springs died June 19 in a car/pedestrian accident. He was the older brother of Sulphur Springs athlete and member of the football and baseball teams, Jocko Spataro.
“Jocko came to me this summer and asked about doing this with the helmet sticker,” Owens said. “I told him I thought it was a great thing. It will be there for him and his family. They are trying to move on with their life, this is something we would like to do.”
Owens said he knew Nathan Spataro from his many visits to watch Jocko in action.
“He (Nathan) loved Sulphur Springs athletics,” Owens continued. “He was into what we are doing. He came to all the football games. It means a lot to our team and our kids. Jocko and his brother were very active.”
Nathan Spataro said his brother played football until the ninth grade when he was forced to give up the sport due to muscular dystrophy.
“He loved coming out and watching us,” Spataro said. “He loved football and he really loved going to all the games last year when we won state.”
“Having the ‘NS’ that Coach Owens put on the helmet gives me so much respect for him to do that for my brother,” Spataro said. “He did not have to do it, but he did and our family appreciates it so much. It makes me play even harder and it makes me feel good.”
Owens said that the honoring of Bradford was also an easy decision. He lauded the late former school teacher for “being a very positive influence” on your men.
“C.W. was one of the first people I met here in the booster club,” Owens revealed. “He was a super positive guy. One of the most positive people with kids I have ever met. It did not matter who the coach was or whatever, he was very supportive of the program.”
Owens said that Bradford had been living in San Angelo in recent years and lost a bout with cancer.
“He did a lot for our booster club,” Owens said. “He has ties to current players. When he he lived here, his home was near Colby Suggs and Mason Y’Barbo. He supported them and the whole team. He was a behind-the-scenes kind of guy. I know he cared about kids.”
Owens said Bradford was always available to mail out letters, encourage athletes.
“We have talked over a dozen times in recent years. He always wanted a report on the team. I’d always give him one or pass on the news to him,” Owens said.
Owens said the last time he saw Bradford was this summer in a coaching clinic in San Angelo.
“These stickers are our honor and tribute for Mr. Bradford and Nathan Spataro,” Owens added.
Mason Y’Barbo said he knew Mr. Bradford for many years as neighbors.
“He was a big supporter, even after he moved away. He was a big fan of the Wildcats,”  Y’Barbo said. “I was sad when he passed away.”
Suggs, also a neighbor of the late Bradford commented, “He lived beside me ever since I was a little kid. When me and my dad would practice baseball in the yard, I’d throw the ball over his fence so he could get it and visit with us. He was a very nice guy.”
Suggs added, “The helmet decal is a great thing to do. I really like it, we were close. He’s another person for us to put on our hearts and play for this year.”
 

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