David City football renews the chase for the playoffs with a new leader at the head of the program. Robert Evans, a Bingham native and former high school player for Hyannis, will lead the Scouts on to the field this Friday when they open the 2019 campaign with a road game at Stanton.
Seven years of losing seasons, a new coach and a roster that might be one of the smallest in Class C-2 are all reasons to bet against the Scouts. Just don't tell them that.
Any new coach brings a renewed sense of hope and optimism. And Evans is certainly that. He came to David City preaching commitment then showed his players that commitment by spending his time with them all summer in the weight room.
Evans has been a part of something like this before. At Hyannis, the Longhorns were in the midst of their own playoff drought when Evans was on the roster. A new coach showed up, hope sprung eternal and regular attendance in the weight room began to pay dividends on the field.
He's no doubt shared that message a time or two in between sets during the summertime. Speak to his players, and you'll find the confidence of guys who expect to win and build a new legacy.
"The number one goal is to make the playoffs," right tackle and defensive tackle Wayne Moore said. "We're a group of kids that has been wanting to do it for a while now, and we think we have the parts in place to make the playoffs. We have to take it one game at a time, so right now our goal is to take care of Stanton."
David City was a 45-43 loser to Stanton a year ago. The Scouts led 43-37 in the fourth quarter before a Mustangs touchdown and two-point conversion ruined an otherwise encouraging night.
David City put it in the past quickly and won back-to-back games over Syracuse and Conestoga but then dropped a 41-17 blowout loss to Hartington Cedar Catholic, won two of the next three but then finished with back-to-back losses.
The Scouts scored just 72 points in district games while surrendering 147.
They face the same group of five again, including No. 2 Aquinas and No. 9 Centennial. Hartington Cedar Catholic, No. 8, waits again in Week 4.
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"Our top 11 guys are a nice set of guys," Evans said. "We have 27 guys, so we’re going to have to stay healthy, but with our 11 guys, I’m really pleased with who we have there. Lineman and skill guys, we're a very rounded team."
Holes are left under center, where Will Danielson threw for 1,022 yards and nine touchdowns and rushed for 129, and in the backfield, where Justin White averaged 4.7 yards per carry and scored five times.
The top two receivers, who combined for a third of the 63 receptions and seven touchdowns, are also both gone.
Clayton Denker is the only established player on the roster, but that doesn't deter the Scouts from believing they have the players needed to contribute.
One of those is guard and defensive end Spencer Allen.
"In past years I wasn’t a full-time starter completely, so it’s nice to be able to get out there and get going," he said. "I feel like I have to be a leader for everybody else. I felt that in past years, but this year the pressure is more on me to be a leader for everybody else."
If there's a key to success, it seems to be the work put in this summer. That will begin to reveal itself after kickoff on Friday.
"That’s what I talk to them, how important it was that it started with the weight room and the conditioning," Evans said. "I know we’re going to have to deal with fatigue. We don’t have a lot of guys so they’re going to have to play both sides of the ball and special teams. Our conditioning is going to play a big part."
Nate Tenopir is the sports editor of The Banner-Press. Reach him via email at DVDsports@lee.net.