August 29, 2013
Denton, Ward aim for improvement By Patrick Hayslip Staff Writer
Last season was eye-opening for the Denton Broncos and quarterback Cy Ward. In a new system with a new coaching staff, the Broncos were just beginning the process of becoming a team in head coach Kevin Atkinson’s image. “At one time last year, we started five sophomores on the offensive line,” Atkinson said. “We were very young up front, were young at the quarterback position and young at the running back position. We weren’t a great offensive team last year.” With the offensive line constantly in flux, Ward found himself in some undesirable and unpredictable situations, but this year’s offensive line has aged and added invaluable experience, something Ward is fully appreciative of. “They’re amazing,” Ward said. “They got so much stronger and so much more physical. The experience just helped us a ton. Anybody can throw the ball, but if you have all day and you can’t go through all your reads, it’s huge. They can hold the receivers forever. Time affects everything in football. It helps a ton.” Ward and the Broncos didn’t get off to a great start last year, losing to Bishop Lynch 30-14 in their first game of the season at home, but they responded by winning their next two games while their offense posted 76 points. The Broncos then stumbled in district play, but Atkinson got to see a glimpse of how the team handled its first experience with adversity. “Anytime you go through adversity it’s going to make you sharper,” Atkinson said. “It’s the way you become a good quarterback and a good offensive team; you go through some unfortunate events, but when you look back, it’s probably the best thing that could ever happen to you. I always tell our kids, you’re always in three different areas. You’re either going through adversity, just went through adversity or about to. We learned a lot about what not to do.” After throwing for 193 yards, a touch-
DENTON: IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Denton Record-Chronicle/David Minton Cy Ward threw for 1,670 yards in 2012 to lead Denton in a tough season overall that saw the Broncos win just one district game. The Broncos return nine starters on offense this year and will look to bounce back behind Ward, who should benefit from playing behind a veteran offensive line and throwing to an experienced group of wide receivers.
down and an interception in the seasonopening loss, Ward showed he could learn from mistakes, responding with a 351yard game and five touchdowns six days later against Carrollton R.L. Turner. The Broncos’ 3-7 finish to the season humbled an already modest Ward, but he started every game and learned some hard, valuable lessons along the way while throwing for 1,670 yards and 13 touchdowns. One pitfall Ward, now a senior, fell victim to as the season went along was falling out of sync with his wide receivers, who struggled to stay healthy and grasp the new offense. This season, Ward knows where his playmakers are going to be with last sea-
son acting as a crucial crash course. “I was young,” Ward said. “I didn’t know what everyone in the offense was doing and this year, I made it a point to learn all of that. I want to be able to tell everyone what to do and where to go. Last year, I was kind of playing wide receiver too, so I started watching more film and taking more notes. It’s been a huge priority. I’ve been preparing for this year so much. I don’t know it fully yet, but I need to know all of it like a coach on the field.” Senior wideouts Adarian Harris and Deandre Coleman along with junior Key’andre Hearvey all pose matchup problems for opposing defenses with
BRONCOS Quick facts District: 5-4A 2012 record: 3-7 (1-6, District 5-4A) Coach: Kevin Atkinson (3-7 in one season at Denton) Returning starters: Nine on offense, five on defense Key players: QB Cy Ward, WR Adarian Harris, WR Ke’Von Buris, WR Key’andre Hearvey, WR Deandre Coleman, OL Judd Terry, NT Aaron Maxwell Offense: Spread Defense: 3-4 School enrollment: 1,851 Stadium: Bronco Field
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Football 2013 is the Denton Record-Chronicle's look at the upcoming football season for the University of North Texas Mean Green and Denton...