Dutch Fork’s Deion Frasier didn’t always play football, but once he started, he knew he was a receiver.
He was not the fastest. He did not have the best footwork. But he had soft hands and a willingness to learn everything else.
“The hands are kind of natural, God’s gift. I’ve always been able to make tough catches,” Frasier said.
“I didn’t start playing football until eighth grade, and I just fell in love with the game, and I loved catching the ball,” he said.
Now, as the Silver Foxes prepare to face Byrnes in the Class 4A Division 1 semifinal on Friday, Frasier hopes to come up big for his team.
As quarterback Derek Olenchuk’s primary receiver, Frasier has more than 900 yards and 11 touchdowns this season. Against Spring Valley last week, Frasier made 10 catches for 114 yards and a touchdown to help the Silver Foxes advance.
“It’s been real good, I love making plays for my team. Anything for us to win the game,” Frasier said. “I believe this is my best season yet.”
After several seasons behind Jordan Berry, Frasier said he was ready this year to step into the leading role.
He made sure he was prepared.
“It was a lot of hard work over the summer,” Frasier said. “I knew this year I was going to be the go-to receiver, and me and Derek spent a lot of time running routes and things to make sure we were perfect coming into this season.
“We just took the initiative to do it, because we really wanted to win the state championship, and we knew we would have to work harder,” he said.
Olenchuk, who has passed for 2,939 yards this season, said that extra time together helped establish a strong chemistry with his top receiver.
“Once he started to find his way into the starting role, over the summer, we were working together every day, before practice, after practice. It wasn’t like it just happened, he put all the work in in the weight room, his film study — he’s been there with me all the time.”
Frasier can make himself long, his sure hands pluck passes from the air with ease, and he seldom coughs up the ball.
“He’s so reliable. The confidence that I have in him, to go make a play, to be the guy that I lean on and go to when I need a play — that’s him all the way,” Olenchuk said. “He definitely makes me look good.”
This week, Frasier will be tested with tight coverage from the Byrnes’ defense.
Against a Byrnes team that can put up big numbers with its passing game, the Silver Foxes offense looks to strike back hard, and Frasier knows his ability to make the catch is key to the Dutch Fork game plan.
“I’m just trying to be the best receiver I can on the field, and hope that will make the difference for my team,” he said.