Frey sees 2012 as potential breakout season
|Dixon High School senior Jared Frey has already garnered interest from Big Ten and MAC schools, but he’s currently focused on helping the Dukes improve on their 2-7 record in 2011. (Alex T. Paschalemail@example.com)|
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DIXON – At 6 feet, 5 inches and about 290 pounds, Dixon senior Jared Frey looms over the practice field at Reagan Middle School with a domineering presence.
He likes what he sees these days, and feels this could be the group to help put the Dukes back on the football map.
“I’ve been together with these guys since I was in fourth grade,” Frey said. “John Thomas at quarterback, he’s a great kid. Our whole team, we’re just good friends. We get along together, we’re good at football, and we’re going to see what we can do this year.”
The Dukes are coming off a 2-7 campaign, and that was with an all-state quarterback in Scott Goad running the show. The losses included close calls against Geneseo and LaSalle-Peru, as well as competitive showings against Alleman and Ottawa.
Untimely, penalties and team cohesiveness, according to Frey, are two areas that need to be shored up to add to the win column.
“Last year we played good as a team, but not really totally there,” Frey said. “We had the biggest offensive line I’ve ever been with, and they were like my brothers. But sometimes we would get in confrontations with the backfield. I think this year, if we can keep it so we’re not in confrontation with the backfield and we keep down the penalties, those losses will go away.”
Part of those growing pains could be attributed to playing for a new head coach in Dave Smith, the program’s eighth head coach since 1999. Frey called Smith the best coach he’s had in football, and expects everything to run more smoothly after a year under Smith.
“The seniors last year had it really hard, to come in with a brand-new coach and a brand-new system,” Frey said. “You’re going to have those ups and downs.”
An indication the Dukes are headed in the right direction is with the number of boys out for football. More than 70 boys reported for the first day of camp on Wednesday, 22 more than a year ago.
“I’m very hyped up about where we’re at right now,” Smith said. “To have 70-plus kids in camp right now is tremendous.”
It’s not just the numbers, however, but what those players have done to prepare themselves. After the team’s season-ending win over Streator last October, there were players in the weight room the following Monday.
Workouts continued throughout the offseason, up to and including contact days allowed in the summer. Part of that workout crew included Frey, who lifted a minimum of 4 days a week, including after baseball practice this past spring. He now squats more than 450 pounds, an increase of about 100 in the past year.
Smith says Frey has already garnered interest from schools in the Big Ten and the Mid-American Conference.
“He’s the total package,” Smith said. “I’m really happy and proud of him.”
2011: 2-7 (1-4 NIB West)
Coach: Dave Smith (2nd season)
Season opener: Aug. 24 vs. United Township
FYI: Dave Smith is Dixon’s eighth head coach since 1999, preceded by Tony Agrimonti (2008-10), Ryan Reade (2005-07), John Simonton (2004), Dave Stanley (2002-03), Bill Lech (2000-01), Chuck Feldmann (1999) and Greg Sprenger (1991-98).
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