Before Davis High football fans push the panic button after Friday’s trip to the toolshed, know that local head coach Steve Smyte believes that the program remains on course — and the future is bright.
“The Junior Blue Devil program is doing a great job,” Smyte told The Enterprise. “That was a focus of our system to get that program up and running well.”
Smyte credits dedicated coaches and the tireless work of Al Inouye in resurrecting that youth program from a struggling organization (hoping to field three teams five years ago) to a seven-team group of youthful gridders who are being immersed in the ways of the varsity Blue Devils.
DHS players and coaches provide free clinics to Junior Blue Devils. Youth coaches get mentoring from Smyte and his assistants and the little guys are invited to get involved with the varsity — most notably lining up in greeting tunnels before home games or having practices on Halden Field right after a DHS workout.
The Devil freshman and junior varsity teams — each of which have shown moments of brilliance this season — have guys who Smyte thinks will pay dividends not too far down the road.
Not including the 34 players on the mother ship, Davis has more 240 kids, ranging from 6-years-old to sophomores, playing football.
Combine those up-and-coming players with current Blue Devils and rebuilding should soon be behind the big Devils.
“We’re still a young team,” Smyte says of his varsity. “Not a lot of seniors.”
The coach ticks off names like Brendan MacDonald, C.K. Hicks, Winfred Roberson, Brett Bloomfield, Carson and Bailey Murray, Wally Perez, Nash Nunes, Austin Lampley … His voice trails: “You can see good talent (here) already.”
Smyte says senior QB Grant Dickerson will be a big loss next year, but “I really like our QB at the JV level (Quentin Jones) and Emilio (Barba) is showing us stuff in practice.”
But the future can wait.
Smyte and Company have some work left ahead of them …
“We’re 1-1 in league. We finally get to come home after four weeks away, and we get to play in front of home fans on Homecoming,” the former Boise State and UC Davis assistant continued. “I fully anticipate you’ll see a committed (Blue Devil) team. We still have some goals this year … and that one game doesn’t define our year.”
Smyte likes how this fall’s DHS team has dealt with adversity — although he wishes they didn’t have adversity like Friday’s 72-7 shellacking by Franklin:
“We’ve been a resilient bunch. Each of the (first two times) we lost games, we bounced back with two wins.”
So, when the Cardinals visit next Friday evening, can the Devils get back on track?
“I think we can. It’s not time to feel sorry for yourself. We lost,” Smyte said. “Whether you lose by one or you lose by 60, it doesn’t matter — you lost. Our guys understand they’re still in (the playoff) hunt.”