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Friday, May 6, 2016

Dyersburg's Stowe: We haven't peaked yet

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Dyersburg head coach Bart Stowe talks with Montavious Lagrone during Saturday's 49-14 win over Westview.
Entering his fourth year as head coach of the Dyersburg football team, Bart Stowe was forced to deal with the loss of 22 seniors off a squad that finished 8-3 last season.

Stowe wasn't sure how the 2012 campaign would unfold, but he did know the squad enjoyed a successful spring and summer prior to the start of the season.

The team worked hard and showed improvement with every practice.

Now, when Dyersburg takes the field, the team doesn't look to one player to make all the plays. The success this season has come due in large part that the squad has an understanding that it takes a team to win, not individuals.

Seven games into the campaign, the Trojans have surprised many with an overall mark of 6-1, with the lone loss coming against Covington, the No.2-ranked team in the state.

The Trojans have piled up an enormous amount of points along the way to those six victories, currently averaging 36 points a game. Defensively, while early in the season the unit was allowing many more scores than was wanted, as of late they've been dominant. Overall, the defense is allowing 18 points a game.

Dyersburg is currently in the midst of a 5-game winning streak and ranked No.8 in the state according to the latest poll released Monday.

The current record is a reflection of a program coming together when it needed to most. During Stowe's first two seasons the Trojans finished 5-6 and 3-7, respectively. Last season, things began to turn around and the wins began to come. Stowe believes it just took time to iron out the wrinkles and get everyone working together.

"I attribute all of our success to the players and the assistant coaches, no doubt. As a program we're on the same page now," he said. "We know what we're doing and we have everything in place in the spring and summer that's going to allow us to be successful when the season arrives."

Most football fans believed the 2012 campaign would be one spent reloading for next year, something Stowe said was never an option.

He believes the key to the success of the squad this year can easily be traced back to last year when many of the current players on the varsity roster enjoyed an awesome ride on the junior varsity level.

"Last year we made a commitment to play junior varsity football and I believe we've been rewarded because a lot of our kids got to play a lot last year," he added. "Most schools are already through playing JV ball at this point in the season, but for us it's very important to keep playing as long as possible."

While Stowe stopped short of saying the current success the squad is enjoying this season is surprising, it certainly makes practice and film sessions go a lot smoother after winning a game.

"Our kids have learned how to win. They know now that it takes a lot of hard work to be successful and they've bought into what we're doing," added Stowe. "Now, our kids expect to win every time we step on the field and that's a great feeling as a coach."

The lone loss this season came against Covington in the second game of the season for Dyersburg. The Trojans opened the season with a crushing victory over Fayette Ware, a game in which the Dyersburg starters only played a quarter. Then there was an early-season bye week, while Covington played two straight tough contests prior to the early-season showdown.

In short, the Chargers had played eight tough quarters while the Trojans had basically played one due to a scheduling mishap that still nags at Stowe today.

"The way our schedule was made up it put us in a terrible situation and was really unfair to our kids, but we can't cry about that now. They (Covington) came in here and beat us, but we may get another shot at them later down the road," said a smiling Stowe.

After the only loss, the coaching staff came together and realized some changes needed to be made. The result of those changes has been five straight victories and the opportunity to run the table and finish the regular season at 9-1.

"We made a lot of changes after that loss. We started platooning our line and started playing kids less on both sides of the ball," he added. "Our skill kids are still playing both ways, but we're subbing the best we can and that has made a huge difference."

Winning five straight and being 6-1 after seven games, Stowe believes the best is yet to come for the 2012 Trojans. He doesn't allow himself to look too far ahead concerning the playoffs just yet, but knows if the squad runs the table in its final three games, a first-round state playoff game at J.C. Sawyers stadium is almost a certainty.

"I don't want to say too much, but we really want to host a playoff game for our fans. We own our own fate and if we take care of our business then everything else will fall into place."

While the Trojans are firing on all cylinders so far, Stowe wants to see more of a total domination effort from start to finish for the remainder of the regular season and then playoffs.

"I want to see us playing at a high level all the time because we haven't peaked at all," he added. "We have to be more consistent from start to finish to make a big run. We're beating people soundly like we're supposed to, but our best games are ahead of us and we're still striving to reach our potential."

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