The Dexter football team returned to the field for the first day of practice on Monday and despite making the playoffs for the first time in school history last year, the Dreadnaughts have plenty of do’s and dont’s on their to-do list (or is it their to-don’t list?).
Let’s start with the dont’s. They don’t want to be complacent; they don’t want to forget what made them successful last season; and they certainly don’t want to take anything for granted.
Colin Parachek, the team’s outstanding young quarterback, says the Dreadnaughts open camp this year not celebrating the past but with the goal of establishing a consistent winning future and it starts in the present.
“Last year’s success, although a very big step, was not everything we wanted to accomplish,” says Parachek, considered one of the top quarterbacks in the state as he enters his junior season. “We were not satisfied last year, and we will not be satisfied this year with the same result. That alone has driven our team.”
And Parachek says there is a different vibe in the room this season.
“Workouts feel different, we have kids going to the field to put work in their free time, kids studying film,” he says. “The big question that will be hanging around Dexter this year is ‘was last year’s season a lucky miracle?’ And we are determined as a team to continue on the success from last year, and to forever change the success of this program.”
In other words, last year was just the opening kickoff to a program looking to make the playoffs a regular part of their schedule.
“I am so excited to get out there with our new team and finally start grinding for a common goal,” Parachek said. “Everyone inside our program knows the talent, and hard-working players we have on this team. I cannot wait until the first day of practice to finally get together and keep fighting and working for the upcoming season.”
The Dreadnaughts took a 2-2 record into week five last year and knocked off Adrian, Tecumseh, Pinckney and Lincoln to earn a trip to the postseason for the first time in school history. Dexter lost in overtime to undefeated South Lyon 31-24 in the opening round of the playoffs.
Parachek admits that he spent a lot of time thinking about last year.
“It was hard to get over the tough loss to South Lyon but really looking back there is so much to be proud of,” he says. “The one thing that stands out to me is the will and want to win that each and every player/coach had each week. Giving up was not an option for the 2018 Dreadnaughts. There are the obvious things you look at like the insane game vs. Ypsilanti Lincoln, and us scoring four unanswered touchdowns in 7 minutes. But it goes all the way back to week one vs. Chelsea. With all of the hype around, ‘the new Dexter Dreadnaughts,’ it would’ve been very easy to fold on the rest of the season after a tough week one loss, but the team decided that we wanted to be great, that we wanted to change Dexter football, and we set out and did just that. And that is something I will forever be proud of.”
And he should be proud because it was that mindset that set that Dexter team apart from some of the previous ones. They didn’t give in to the “same old Dexter” after losing to Chelsea. Instead, they changed the conversation and attitude by believing in themselves.
But as Bob Seger likes to say, it’s time to turn the page. And the Dreadnaughts are looking forward to writing another chapter – this one even longer than last year.
“There are so many things that need to happen way before Aug. 30 (season opener) to give us the best chance to beat Chelsea,” Parachek says. “I know from my standpoint I have already started breaking down film daily trying to learn what they do best. It all comes down to a mentality of wanting to win. Chelsea must be on our team’s mind from the start of camp, until the end of the game Aug. 30. Whether it is eating healthier, working out harder, or studying longer, Chelsea needs to be on the top of everyone’s mind.”
Parachek says the Dreadnaughts believe in themselves, even more so than last year. “We know that we can be great,” he says. “And we know what it will take and are willing to do what it takes to be great. We have set many goals, some smaller, some bigger, but all achievable.”
The first goal is to focus on the immediate goal.
“As we go through the season, we will continue to carry the mindset coach Jacobs has engraved into us: 1-0,” Parachek says. “Everything we do we will always focus on being 1-0. Every play, drive, quarter, game, season. Win what is in the moment and you will set yourself up for success.”