Graham, Texas -
The Graham Steers breezed through their district schedule last year, going 4-0 on their way to a state semifinal berth.
This year Graham returns the majority of their skill players, and has a group of underclassmen that have an extra half season under their belt thanks to last year's deep playoff run
As the Graham Steers turn the page to this season from the last, the memories of their thirteen wins are still in their minds. Also in thier minds are the expectations that come with a making it to the state semifinals a year before. Head caoch Kenny Davidson says the Steers are trying to carry over some momentum from last year's run, "when you have the year that we had last year with all the excitement and the momentum we just want to carry that over. The expectations are high. We have a lot of kids that really contributed to that 13 win season. They're coming back and they're our leaders this year. Expectations are high and it's really one of those things you really can't do anything about."
Quarterback Ben Davis is back under center for the Steers, Davis saying expectations can drive success, "expectations are a great thing especially on a team level. Ever since i was younger i've had great expectations for myself so it's nothing new to me but i guess for other guys it's something new to them. Some guys aren't as confident as others and may set low expectations but with higher expectations it pushes you to excel. So i think it's good for our team."
The reason for those expectations is what the Steers have coming back. Starting with Davis. Graham's quarterback who threw for 33 hundred yards and 23 touchdowns. Many of those to Bryce Reeves, the dynamic wide receiver that accounted for over 1000 yards of offense last season. Davis saying he's excited to have Reeves back, "Bryce is really good with his mental aspect of the game. He understands his routes, he understands coverages, he understands how to get in the holes. That's what makes us really good because we both understand coverages and we hook up that way."
The Steers also have the district's leading rusher returning in Dillon Gonzalez, who ran for over 1400 yards and 23 touchdowns last year. On defense the Steers do have holes to fill, but with seven defensive returners back this year, defensive coordinator Clay McChristian says they're already ahead of schedule, "when you have those guys coming back and you're trying to bring those young guys along but when you don't have to spend as much time teaching the entire concept to everybody, when you have those seven guys back they can pull some guys to the side and talk about a technique or a coverage. That's just invaluable..."
One of the most memorable moments for the Steers last year was a jerrod mahan int in the steers playoff game against Glen Rose. That resulted in a shoulder bump with assistant Bubba Wright. With wright hitting the ground. Bubba turned forty this year and tells us his celebrations will now be ground based. But his fellow coaches, including McChristian, aren't too sure, "guess what he's lying. He gets so excited on the sidelines that's why the kids love him. He's great to have on the sideline down there. He gets the excitement level up. He can say that he's going to stay ground based but i can see him jumping every friday night."