Douglass’ football team may have won just three games last season, but it played a heck of a lot better than a three-win team at times.
The Bulldogs turned into a bit of an offensive juggernaut with several standout receivers, led by Devon Anderson, who earned Second Team All-Central Plains League and All-State Honorable Mention honors for the Bulldogs last season. The team had an incredible ground game to complement the aerial attack as Zach Dressler spearheaded the rushing attack by topping 1,000 yards.
Anderson and Dressler look to increase their production even more this year. The duo has a special bond that motivates each other.
“We compete with each other,” Anderson said. “…It’s always a fun competition.”
“He’s like a big brother to me, so I try to do everything I can to be better than him, but he doesn’t want to let me do that,” Dressler said.
Anderson received a lot of attention last year as he showed he has the speed to burn defenses deep at any point. But like so many of the Bulldogs, he doesn’t care who gets the credit, as long as it helps the team.
“My goal is to help the team get as many wins as we can and just perform as a family and have good bonding,” Anderson said.
He may see an expanded role in the offense, including taking direct snaps at times or running the ball more. He said he and Dressler will help block for each other when the other is running the ball. As far as receiving, Anderson just wants to focus on getting better.
“I just think it’s the mentality of catching the ball and scoring for them,” Anderson said is how he needs to focus.
Dressler proved to be a hard guy to bring down last year as he did a lot of damage after contact. But he believes in his line and knows he can’t repeat his success with them doing their jobs.
“I don’t take much of the glory at all. I put it on my blockers,” Dressler said. “Me, as a running back, I could not get the yardage I do without my blockers.”
Junior Kolby Caster and senior Kaden Dunham are two other high-quality receivers. They are effective route runners, and they play on both sides of the ball as cornerbacks, too.
The big challenge to keep the offense producing at a high level will be its new starting quarterback. Junior Kaden Pichler is taking the reigns at the position.
“He’s worked really hard in the offseason trying to get better,” Douglass coach Kelley Sayahnejad said. “He’s waited his turn for two years at the JV level. I think he’s ready. We’ll give him a shot and see what happens.”
On defense, Anderson is making a big adjustment.
“He’s come in and put on another 10 pounds and changed positions defensively. He’s gone from a corner to outside linebacker,” Sayahnejad said of Anderson.
“I’m picking it up nicely. The stance is different from corner, and all the reads,” Anderson said were the biggest adjustments he’s had to make.
Joey Nuzum, a 180-pound senior, will be a huge factor on defense. He’ll be the team’s primary defensive end who will rush the quarterback and chase down runners. He also will play on the offensive line.
As for the offensive line, Mylan Baker is a returning 205-pound senior who missed time last year after suffering an injury.
“He’s definitely back to normal,” Sayahnejad said.
Landon Ramey, a junior, will start out as the team’s center. Jacob Woody also will play on the offensive line.
The Bulldogs are in a tough situation of playing so many guys on both sides of the ball. The seniors have shown plenty of leadership in doing whatever it takes to improve the team, including playing hard all game long. Several times last year, the Bulldogs ran out of gas at the end of games, but they are working hard on their conditioning to better prepare for that.
“It’s just about doing the little things, and the other part of that is developing some depth,” Sayahnejad said. “If you got a lot of kids playing both ways, you get late in the game and sometimes you take a break and give up a big play. A lot of it is, A: we got to get in better shape, and B: we’ve got to develop depth so we can focus on those little things.”
The Bulldogs have a tough schedule that includes a gauntlet of 3A powers such as Conway Springs, Garden Plain and Chaparral within the CPL.
“Where it’s challenging is when you’re battling the numbers this year, and we play that group of teams four games in a row,” Sayahnejad said.