It is not hard for coach Josh Stepp to get excited about the Dreher’s upcoming season.
The Blue Devils are entering the third year of Stepp’s five-year rebuilding plan, and everything seems to be on track.
“When we got here, we knew it was going to take a few years, and we knew it wasn’t going to be easy,” said Stepp, whose team was 3-18 in his first two seasons. “The biggest thing was getting our program and our guidelines in place. And now that’s in and we want to get further and want to make sure we progress each year.”
The Blue Devils reached the playoffs last season for the first time in several years, and Stepp feels they can be an even stronger contender now.
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“When you look at making the playoffs, I think yeah, if they can stay healthy and if we can catch a few breaks, then we have a chance to make some noise in the playoffs,” Stepp said.
The Blue Devils have several key players returning from the 2011 squad, most notably on defense.
Free safety Quayshon Drayton and linebacker Andrew Goines headline Dreher’s defensive cast.
“Quayshon is the leader for us on defense, he makes a lot of big plays and keeps things going for us,” Stepp said. “We’ve got some pretty good things going for us, and we feel pretty good about our speed on defense.”
While the Blue Devils work speed and experience to their advantage on defense, their offensive line up has important new faces.
Most notable is the addition of quarterback Hakim Frazier, a transfer from Woodmont.
“He’s been a huge help to us, and he can do a lot of things we need,” Stepp said. “He’s a dual threat kid and he adds to what we feel like was already a pretty well-balanced offense.”
The young backup quarterback, Howard Henderson, also is well-qualified to direct the passing game.
“He can throw whatever kind of pass we need,” Stepp said.
With an athletic group of receivers led by Tyrek Outler, a junior and three-year starter, the Blue Devils expect to find the end zone much more often. Bradford Lemmons, a state champion sprinter, will be getting some of the looks, and Willie Reed will split duty at tailback and wideout.
Surpassing last season’s first round playoff finish starts with the Blue Devils mastering their reconfigured region.
“It’s going to take us not just showing up every Friday night but playing mistake-free ball,” Stepp said.