High expectations are quite the norm for Graham's football team. The Steers advanced to the state championship in 2009 and finished a top District 6-3A last season.
"We want to uphold those expectations and keep the tradition going," senior safety Brian Sides said.
A key for the Steers this season will be the vast about of players running around practice. Head coach Kenny Davidson says 149 kids have come out for football, and with depth comes both competition and comfort.
"We have about five guys at every position that can step in and play the job just as good as the other one did," senior quarterback Layne Bynum said.
Graham finished 8-3 overall and 5-0 in district play last year, but had their season abruptly cut short with a 28-21 loss to Snyder in the bi-district round of playoffs. Bynum says that right after the game, the team came together and set the goal of making a big run this season.
The senior QB will be one of keys on offense. He threw for 1,566 yards and ran for another 505, accounting for 26 total touchdowns. All this came one year after taking over for Case McCoy.
On the defensive side of ball, Davidson says his secondary will be one of the strengths of team. Sides says the entire team as a whole takes pride in being a lockdown D and getting the ball back to the offense. If ball-hawking was a sport, Graham would excel at it. The Steers intercepted 24 balls last season.
While last season's playoff loss is still fresh in the minds of the players, so is the 2009 run to the title game. In a way, both games are equally as motivating.
"It was just one of the most awesome feelings I've ever had in the world to get to play on that stage on front of 20,000-plus people," Sides said. "The best thing that I can think of to get us back there is that every day take every snap like it's your last one and go out every play."