REDWATER, Texas – It seems like little went right for Redwater in 2018, and now the Dragons are in a rebuilding mode.
The Dragons return only 12 of 29 lettermen from a 1-9 team that finished sixth in District 7-3A Division I. The writing was on the wall early last season for coach Tommy Graf.
“Last year we had a big group of seniors, but some key injuries really hurt us,” said Graf. “We were on our third quarterback after the first week, and had to play people out of position. We were coming off eight straight years where we made the playoffs.”
Playing in a district that features Atlanta, Jefferson, Mount Vernon, Hughes Springs, Hooks and New Boston doesn’t help. Graf still knows any school taking his Dragons for granted could be in big trouble.
“We’re on the way back; it’s going to be done through hard work and execution,” said Graf. “These kids at Redwater have always surprised me with hard work. In our case eleven people are going to move as one if we’re going to get it done. We have some talent that we’re very excited about.”
Redwater numbers down after 1-9 season
Graf said his numbers were down about 10 from last season. His staff has been focused on developing some depth. Don’t look for a lot of players going both ways early. However, that could change when the district schedule arrives.
Redwater’s experience is its skill players on offense. Preston Davis is back after missing last season with an injury. He will challenge sophomore Malcom Brown for playing time at quarterback, and is expected to start at linebacker. Brown moved up from the junior varsity when the Dragons’ top two signal-callers got hurt.
Running backs Garrett Johnson, Nick Fernandez and Matt Williams can be dangerous if the Dragons’ young linemen can step up. Carlos Rojas and Nick Parker provide experience up front.
“Davis is a junior who did not play a snap last year after an ACL injury in a scrimmage,” said Graf. “Both of our quarterbacks are still young, and we’re excited about both being dual threats. We’ll run our flexbone by committee.
Johnson gives Redwater offense some speed
Johnson is a senior, and he gives us some speed at running back. He also played a lot at quarterback last year.
The Dragons must be sound on defense if Redwater is to be competitive.
“Mistakes on defense, or a breakdown mentally will cost us a touchdown. We just don’t have a lot of overly fast kids. We’re telling our players to be a student of the game. Knowledge, understanding schemes on both sides of the line could be a strength.
“Our weakness would be our inexperience and size. We don’t have a lot of big kids, got to stay low and play hard. We put a lot of emphasis in the weightroom. I’m proud to say we had a good turnout this summer, better than the previous year.”
Waskom will host the Dragons in their season opener on Aug. 30.