DAWSON COUNTY, Texas (Big 2/Fox 24) – After a quick glance at Klondike’s regular season results, you may suspect the Cougars would be satisfied with their recent performance.
Despite tallying 14 wins over the past two seasons, however, Klondike failed to qualify for the playoffs on each occasion.
“Going 7-3 two years in a row and just barely missing out, it’s helped us because it’s shown our kids what we need to do to finally get over that hump,” said Klondike head coach Dalton DeGraffenreid.
This season, the Cougars will move to Class 1A, Division II, where they are the #15 team in Dave Campbell’s Texas Football’s preseason statewide rankings.
“We’re really quick. We’ve got a ton of speed this year,” said senior quarterback/safety Kylar Pepper. “We’re going to try and spread people out and throw it on them. We’ve got a lot of people who can catch and some good throwers.”
“This year, I think we’re going to be pretty good. We’re pretty quick and we have lots of freshmen who are pretty good too,” said junior running back/safety Josh Arismendez.
Another asset for Klondike is the team’s experience. All but one player will return for the Cougars this season.
“I think that just naturally limits mistakes,” said DeGraffenreid. “Coaches are all over preaching, ‘Control the things you can control.’ At the end of the day, if we make less mistakes than they do, hopefully we’ll come out on the right side of the scoreboard.”
That experience also comes with discipline, which has been particularly helpful during a chaotic offseason.
“When I got here, I preached that I wanted to be a player-led program,” said DeGraffenreid. “I feel like we’ve really, really done a good job. It’s awesome knowing they’re really holding each other accountable and doing what they need to do to best prepare themselves.”