Officially, Dreher finished 8-2 a year ago. On the field, the Blue Devils won seven of 10 games.
It wasn’t enough to make the state playoff cut.
“Because of our schedule, I still don’t know how good a team we were last season,” said first-year coach Treigh Sullivan, who served as the Blue Devils offensive coordinator for two seasons under Josh Stepp.
“The only thing I do know is we didn’t win enough games to make the playoffs, and that’s something we hope to change this year.”
Dreher welcomes back five starters on both sides of the ball, and has two established players on offense in senior receiver Bradford Lemmons (6-foot-2, 160 pounds) and junior running back Donovan Ward (5-8, 180). The key could be how fast talented but inexperienced junior Avery Armstrong (6-0, 175) develops at quarterback.
“I think he has a chance to be a special player, but he is going to have some growing pains,” said Sullivan. “He’s got the tools. He’s a good runner and an accurate passer. He’s also a hard worker who has already gained the respect of the team.”
Lemmons caught 29 passes for 486 yards and five touchdowns and expects higher numbers this season.
The senior leader is a four-year varsity football man, and an established star in track with seven medals on his spring resume. He was the 200- and 400-meter champion and the runner-up in the 100. He claimed two silver (200 and 400) and two gold relay prizes in 2012.
Ward ran for 818 yards and three TDs last season, averaging 5.8 yards per carry. He also caught 11 passes for 114 yards and two scores.
Guards Drayton Hastie (5-11, 220) and Jeffrey Wilder (5-10, 285) are the veteran building blocks up front.
On defense, junior Isaiah Drayton and senior Josh Scott return at cornerback, junior Willie Reed is back at linebacker and ends Jason Carter and Colin Dryden are the veterans on the line.
Carter and Dryden both finished with 50 tackles and two sacks last season.
Junior linebacker Keontae Mills, who missed last season with a knee injury, is a newcomer to watch on defense.
“We have some questions because we have so much inexperience, but I believe we’ll be a better team this year even if we don’t win as many games,” said Sullivan. “The bottom line is we have to win more region games than we did last season.”
This is one in a series of high school football previews on Midlands teams.
DREHER BLUE DEVILS
|Aug. 23||Fox Creek|
|Sept. 6||at Columbia|
|Sept. 13||at Eau Claire|
|Sept. 27||at C.A. Johnson|
|Oct. 4||at L. Richland|
|Oct. 25||at Chapin|
|Nov. 1||A.C. Flora|