Reported by: Charlie Bartlett
The Graham Steers had a season to remember in 2009.
They made it to the Class 3A State Title Game for the first time in school history, but they came home empty handed. While the loss still hurts, the players are even more motivated to get back there.
"One point in the state championship game can definitely eat at you when you lay down at night," said Steers Linebacker David Graham. "You dream about what you can do your Senior year. Our goal is one week at a time, but definitely it's in the back of our minds to get back there and get the job done this time."
"I mean that feeling walking off by one point losing sticks with you throughout your whole life," said Steers Wide Receiver Corey Groves.
Since the loss, there's been many changes. The biggest factor was head coach.
Brad McCoy stepped down leaving the coaching duties to former Graham Defensive Coordinator Kenny Davidson.
"Everything's in place," said Coach Davidson. "The facilities, great administration, tremendous community support. I've been a Head Coach before and so I felt like I slipped right into it."
That wasn't the only key departure.
Senior Quarterback Case McCoy graduated leaving for UT-Austin. There's big shoes to fill, but new Quarterback Lane Bynum has promise.
"He's stepping up real well and moved up from Junior Varsity last year, having a good season," said Groves. "He's doing really well, I'm really looking forward playing with him out there."
"A lot of experience in this system," said Davidson. "He's grown up a lot and I feel real confident in his ability."
The Steers also have a new district, joining District 6-3A. Graham likes the challenge of new competition.
"We definitely have some old rivals back freshman year," said Graham. "It will be good get backing into it."
"We love this district," said Groves. "We get to go back to our old district where we use to be in. Play Vernon, Iowa Park, and all these guys. We're really excited about it."
"We feel comfortable in playing the teams," said Davidson. "Most of the teams we played in non-district the last two years, so we're comfortable with them and we're excited about the change."
They lost many impact players, but not all of them.
"We lost 17 starters off last year's team, but the tradition is there and we hope to continue it," said Davidson.
"In order to play 16 games and play in the state championship against Carthage. It's definitely experience and be able to lead," said Graham.