SHERIDAN YELLOWJACKETS: Sheridan looks to basics to build on success
August 26, 2012
In two years under head coach Louis Campbell, a former Razorback and one-time assistant at Arkansas who also worked under the legendary Bear Bryant at Alabama and coached in the NFL at Tampa Bay, the Sheridan Yellowjackets have hit notable milestones.
After recording only three winning seasons since the Reagan era ended, the Blue and Gold made the playoffs in Campbell’s first campaign and won a playoff game in his second, the school’s first in two decades. Add to that a win over nonconference rival White Hall for the first time in much the same span and a victory over 7A/6A South Conference foe Benton, and there’s a lot to be proud of.
But there’s still more work to do.
“We don’t look at 6-6 as a goal every year for our football team or our program, but we made some strides,” Campbell said.
Just how much momentum those strides provide going into 2012 is hard to say, though.
“On the one hand, anytime you have success, it helps your program out, and it helps your school,” Campbell said. “But on the other hand, it’s a new year, a new season, and you’ve got a bunch of new guys, so in many ways you’re starting over every year.”
It doesn’t hurt that the core of the offensive attack — a run-option out of a spread look — is among the handful of returning starters: senior quarterback Dylan Flores (6-1, 175) and junior tailback Braden Lunday (5-10, 165).
“He’s more of a drop-back passer,” Campbell said of Flores, who threw for 1,196 yards and seven touchdowns last year. “He can scramble, can move around in the pocket; he’s primarily a passer and not a runner.”
Other returning offensive starters are on the line in senior guard Ryan Taylor (5-9, 202) and senior tackle John Strange (5-11, 268). Defensively, Sheridan returns one starter, senior linebacker Wyatt Daggett (6-1, 215). The kicking unit also goes unchanged, with Kane Fitzgerald (5-11, 154) punting, Micah Parker (5-9, 159) on field goals and Ryan King (5-9, 170) snapping.
To that, Campbell is adding a lot of new players, including a number of sophomores, and as of early August, there were still question marks.
“There’s definitely a learning curve there. We’re still moving people around, still trying to get people into the right position,” he said.
There are some promising standouts already, though. Among them is sophomore receiver Tyler Raney (6-0, 153), a dynamic return guy who “does a little bit of everything for us.” Another sophomore, Daniel Jones (5-11, 240), looks to be the starting nose guard, and sophomore Dillon Bomar (6-3, 215) will start at defensive end. Among the upperclassmen, junior Dallas Jordan (6-3, 230) has secured a starting tackle spot, and senior Dudley Adams (5-10, 190) will start at linebacker.
Together they’ll work through a tough 7A/6A South Conference, looking to build on success by focusing on the basics: effort and execution.
“We talk about playing hard and getting our assignments down. If we play with passion and execute without mistakes, we’ll see where the games go,” Campbell said. “All we want is to have a chance to win in the fourth quarter.”