Thursday, January 29, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Blue Devils head to camp, Smyte looks to fall season

DHS football coach Steve Smyte goes over Xs and Os with his team on Monday in preparation for this week's Sierra Football Camp. Sue Cockrell/Enterprise photo

By
From page B1 | June 18, 2013 |

The numbers are up. The athletes seem to be stronger. The consistency of a culture that begins with kids playing Blue Devil-style football is paying dividends.

Now, as Steve Smyte approaches his fourth season as Davis High’s gridiron coach, this week’s Sierra Football Camp will give those in Devil Nation a real feel for what to expect come the season opener at Yuba City on Aug. 30.

“We’re on the way. This program is definitely on the upswing,” Smyte says. “I look at the depth on the offensive line, the three quarterbacks we have in camp and guys like (linebacker) Brendan MacDonald and (lineman) Bailey Murray. … I’m excited.”

DHS — along with Casa Roble, Liberty (Brentwood), Sacramento and Del Oro — will spend Tuesday through Thursday meaning business in a grueling, two-a-day series of workouts.

In the mornings, the squads will work on situations — second-and-goal, third-and-long and red-zone challenges. In the afternoons, full-contact scrimmages give coaches ideas for what needs to be tweaked once conditioning (Aug. 5) and regular practices (Aug. 12) begin.

The Blue Devils are coming off a 5-5 campaign in which many felt the locals were nonetheless playoff-worthy (Nevada Union, also 5-5, sneaked past Davis for the final postseason berth).

Observers know two moments last fall — the sloppy 26-21 loss at Rio Americano and a controversial callback on a Grant Dickerson “touchdown” — cost the Devils dearly.

But Smyte doesn’t linger on the past. His focus is forward and — despite the news that standout receiver C.K. Hicks will be missing in 2013, after an ACL injury suffered Friday at a UCLA camp — the coach sees this Devil glass as more than half full.

At quarterback, Emilio Barba, Quinn Williams and Quentin Jones have all brought strengths to the mix.

Smyte points to junior Williams as “the best athlete of the group,” adding that senior Barba “know the offense the best.” Jones “is young with a great arm,” meaning the competition for a starting nod is “wide-open … we feel good about all three.”

Returning lineman Murray (6-foot-3, 310 pounds) commands respect in practice and draws concern from opposing coaches.

“He has stepped up and taken control,” Smyte told The Enterprise. “He wants to go out with a flourish.”

Murray has cleaned 285 pounds in weight-lifting workouts — a number that would impress most Division I college linemen. He played much of 2012 with a broken left arm and comes to his senior year healthy and ready to switch to guard.

Part of the reason for the change is that Murray gets some help on the right — Georgia transfer Jonah Williams.

Williams is a 6-5, 230-pound sophomore who, according to Smyte, finished fourth in his home-state junior varsity shot put.

“Our lines don’t have the size that we had last year,” Smyte says. “But they’re quicker, more experienced and deeper.”

Smyte pointed to returners Nash Nunes and Marvin Grant and JV call-ups Logan James and Marcos Herrera as reasons for additional optimism.

Then there’s MacDonald …

“Everything we do defensively revolves around him,” the coach continues. “He’s going to have a lot of options from his inside linebacker spot.”

Sporting a 4.5 grade-point average in the classroom, MacDonald had some eye-popping on-field stats as a junior: 51 tackles, four forced fumbles, an interception and an 80-yard touchdown reception as a rarely targeted tight end.

“The (Ivy League schools) like him a lot,” Smyte says of his 5-10, 230-pound standout.

At running back, DHS finds itself with depth and experience — Winfred Roberson, Wally Perez, Austin Lampley and newcomer Talek Deery.

Smyte said he loved the way sometimes-fullback Roberson cleared the way for tailbacks. He also gave a shout-out to Perez: “He looked amazing. He’s running the ball well, with aggressiveness.”

Deery adds speed, says the coach, and Lampley was an able starter toward the end of the season. Roberson’s 803 yards rushing and nine touchdowns were team bests.

One step backward on Friday was the news that Hicks, a highly touted pass-catcher, will be lost for his senior season.

Hicks was to have been the busy Z-receiver, a cornerback and safety on defense, the punter and a go-to kick returner.

“We’re all just sick about it,” Smyte said over the weekend. “But we know he’ll come back from this.”

Smyte said he talked with Hicks: “He’ll still be our captain. He’ll be with us all year, helping out, encouraging and inspiring our other players. You know, we just picked up another coach in C.K.”

Without Hicks, the Blue Devils remain deep at wideout. Nate Curtis, Joey Dossa, Ted Riffle, Bailey Yarrow and Andre Foster are just a few of the names that came to mind when Smyte talked about life after Hicks.

“They’re all have shown us something,” the coach says.

Davis greeted 38 players for spring football and currently has 36 or so in the Sierra Camp.

When Foster returns from ankle surgery and others are back from vacation or college-campus visits, Smyte thinks he’ll have more than 40 on his 2013 roster — the biggest head count to date in his four years at the helm.

“Like I said, we’re headed in the right direction,” the coach reiterates. “(Sierra Camp) will be the only chance over summer that we’ll have to put the pads on, get to hit. It really helps in us be able to access what we have.”

Notes: Under Smyte (after back-to-back 2-8 seasons in the previous seasons), DHS has gone 1-9, 2-8 and 5-5. … “Our JV and frosh teams were excellent teams and we’re getting solid players from (the Junior Blue Devils),” Smyte said with a hopeful eye on the future. This fall’s schedule: at Yuba City (Aug. 30), at Foothill (Sept. 6), at Armijo (Sept. 13), Rio Americano (Sept. 20), Woodland (Sept. 27), bye on Oct. 4, Monterey Trail (Oct. 11), Franklin (Oct. 18), at Laguna Creek (Oct. 25), Grant (Nov. 1), at Elk Grove (Nov. 8). … Earlier this month, DHS split its normal spring camp into two parts, surrounding finals week.

— Reach Bruce Gallaudet at [email protected] or 530-747-8047.

Comments

comments

Bruce Gallaudet

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

     
    ‘Huck’ and ‘Tom’ float old Arboretum dock to removal

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Work continues to modernize Davis Healthcare Center

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1

    Holman continues to educate and inspire

    By Daniella Tutino | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Biologists: Raising California dam would harm salmon

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

     
    Teens arrested after midnight joyride

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

     
    Overweight video game avatars ‘play’ worse than fit ones

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

    Meet the mayor for coffee at Peet’s

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Author joins radio show

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

    Make your own SoulCollage on Sunday

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

     
    Calling all chicken owners: Apply for coop crawl, share information

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Walk through Quail Ridge Reserve on Feb. 14

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Hopmans named associate vice provost for global affairs

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

     
    Review motivation to refresh your healthy-habits plan

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6 | Gallery

    Tips to protect skin this winter

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

     
    For health and healthy appearance, there’s just one quick fix

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

    Measles outbreak grows

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A9

     
    NAMI-Yolo examines inpatient services at potluck

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

    .

    Forum

    Basement living, with attitude to match

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    50 years since Ash Hall

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10 | Gallery

    Can climate change bring us together?

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

     
    Paso Fino coming to a vote

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    .

    Sports

    Aggies still looking for record hoops win

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    Blue Devil Hammond has a huge day at home

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Pent up? Join Davis’ latest athletic event

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Two in a row for Devil boys

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    UCD roundup: Aggie football players crack the books

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

     
    Youth roundup: Harper hoopsters off to hot start

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

    Treys send Toronto past Kings

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

     
    .

    Features

    It’s Girl Scout Cookie time!

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A8 | Gallery

     
    What’s happening

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A8

    College Corner: Have wanderlust? Go overseas for college

    By Jennifer Borenstein | From Page: A8

     
    District learns from bomb threat incident

    By Kellen Browning | From Page: A8

    Feenstra-Fisher wedding

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9

     
    .

    Arts

    Show explores the evolution of dance

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

     
    A rose by any other name — if there is one

    By Michael Lewis | From Page: A11

     
    Acclaimed guitarist Adrian Legg to play at The Palms on Saturday

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11 | Gallery

    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    James George Tingus

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Comics

    Comics: Thursday, January 29, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: B6