Injuries, transfers and general inexperience played havoc on the Dreher football team in 2008. The Blue Devils never got it together on offense, finished with a 2-8 record and missed the Class 3A state playoff cut for the eighth time in the last 10 seasons.
But with 10 starters expected to return on offense, and seven set to return on defense, coach Bill Bacon is cautiously optimistic about the prospect of better things in 2009.
“We just could not get much going offensively,” said Bacon. “We suffered some injuries in the backfield and took a while to get the offensive line in place. Defensively, we played better but we have to stop giving up big plays because of busted coverages. If we stay healthy and we do not lose any guys as transfers like we did this year, we should be much more competitive. We need to find a kicker, stay healthy and we will see what happens.”
Senior linebacker Jabril Williams, senior kicker Kurt Stoudenmire, junior defensive lineman Farrington Huguenin and sophomore offensive lineman Michael Helms were named to the Region 5-3A team.
Williams was the top hit man on defense with 131 tackles, and he also had six sacks. Stoudenmire was 8-for-9 in PATs and 3-for-4 in field goals and was among the top punters in the state with a 41.3-yard average. Huguenin finished with 82 tackles and a team high 11 sacks. Helms posted 28 knock-down blocks and 14 pancakes this season.
The top underclassmen this season were junior running back Devante Sims (110-636-0), junior running back Leonard Kennedy (59-435-4), junior fullback Sheldon Kennedy (71-347-1), junior receiver/defensive back Chad Jasper (14-234-1, 45 tackles, 1 interception), junior linebacker Shane Van Dyke (85 tackles) and junior defensive back Jackson Edwards (35 tackles, 1 interception).
Edwards, the backup to senior starter Jacob Gindman, will get a long look at the startring quarterback job next season.
As Bacon stated, picking up the pace on offense is a top priority. The Blue Devils, after all, scored just 97 points this year.