Youthful exuberance carried the Dreher Blue Devils through an offseason filled with hard work in the weight room and a preseason spent laboring under the summer sun.
First-year coach Treigh Sullivan spent that time hoping his young team’s talent would override its inexperience as they attempted to build off last year’s 7-5 finish.
Apparently, it has.
The Blue Devils are 3-0 after defeating Eau Claire on Friday with wide receiver Bradford Lemmons the only senior starter.
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“There have been some hiccups, but they’ve executed for the most part,” the coach said.
Lemmons said the success is due, in part, to a strengthened camaraderie and sense of duty among his teammates.
“We’re committed to do our best, 100 percent, for each other, and the more we win, the harder we work out here to keep it going,” Lemmons said.
He said the team had been optimistic since learning in the spring that former assistant coach Sullivan would be taking over the program.
“When I knew that our system wasn’t going to change, that’s when I expected that we would just keep up our progress from last season,” Lemmons said.
Sullivan practiced a more cautious optimism. Keeping in mind that Dreher had lost several key offensive skill players and the youth of new starting quarterback Avery Armstrong, he tempered his expectations.
Armstrong has proven more than capable.
“I’m enjoying it a lot,” Armstrong said. “Coach Sullivan gave me the right tools and he has confidence in me, so my confidence is building from that,” said the sophomore, who has 629 yards of offense. He is 40-for-65 passing with eight touchdowns.
Sullivan has been pleased that the Blue Devils have been able to stay humble and maintain their work ethic as their success continues.
“They’ve taken a business approach to the whole thing. They know that there are things that we can work on, and they’ve kept that in perspective,” Sullivan said.
The coach is confident the Blue Devils are prepared to weather both victory and defeat.
“We don’t know when it’s going to happen, but it’s going to happen eventually. We know there is going to be adversity, but it’s our job as coaches to make sure they know how to handle that,” Sullivan said.
Not that the Blue Devils plan on losing anytime soon.
“I tell them, every week we want to go 1-0,” Sullivan said.
This week, that means going up against Brookland-Cayce, which is also undefeated.