WALTERS, Okla (KSWO) - Since going 0-10 in 2011, Walters has gradually been developing a program to be proud of. Last year the team compiled an 8-3 record and made the Class 2A playoffs for a second consecutive year. They were led by a dynamic duo in receivers Trevor Hartman and Cade Baumann.
Those two have since graduated. That puts head coach Faron Griffin in a position to look upon a group of sophomores to fill the void.
"We've got a sophomore, Devin Holly, who's really good. He showed a lot of good things last week in our inter-squad scrimmage. Nick Gamberdella is returning as a junior. Did a lot of good things for us last year, and we're expecting them to do good things this year," Griffin said. "These young guys are going to have to get there in a hurry. We put a lot of pressure on them early and we're going to continue to put pressure on them so they can handle the lights on Friday nights. We're not making excuses for their inexperience.
Another player trusted to carry the load on offense is senior tailback Kyle Graham. He has proven to be one of the most prolific rushers in Walters history, having racked up over 3,000 yards in three years.
"Kyle has always been our main ball runner. We've given him the ball more than probably anybody else the past four years, and that's not going to change. We're going to stay with our offense and utilize it. It's been good to us. We're going to get the ball in a lot of people's hands, but Kyle Graham is going to tote most of the load," Griffin said.
"It's tough having that much attention. But you just kind of have to take it. And I'm going to do what I can to lead my team and take them as far as we can go," said Graham.
Not only does the team lose Baumann and Hartman, but also quarterback Coby Jones. Once again, a sophomore, Josh Munn, will be looked upon to lead the way at starting quarterback. Coach Griffin and the rest of the team have been impressed with Munn's development and skill-set thus far in practice.
"He led our junior high team to an undefeated season last year. He's got a lot of talent, but his inexperience at this level, we're going to have to make up for in a hurry," Griffin said.
"Well, he's a young quarterback, so he's got a lot more left to learn. But he's dealing with the situation of taking the starting role over again. So, I mean, he'll be good for us this year," said senior lineman Tyler Anderson. "He can throw the ball way better than our quarterback last year could. And he's got more speed and he's more agile than our quarterback last year."
The trend of filling gaps with young talent continues on the defensive side of the ball, specifically the secondary. However, the Blue Devils have experienced returning starters up front that will try to balance out the Walters defense.
"Our core up front is really good. We're coming back with all starters on the defensive front," Griffin said. "Our secondary is where we are going to be inexperienced. But they're really fast kids and really aggressive kids. So we're excited about them. They're just going to have to learn a lot."
The Blue Devils begin their season August 26th against Apache.