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Dragons fired up about 2010 football season



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August 25, 2010 - Chris Bell knows his Lake Orion Dragons came up one step short of an Oakland Activities Association Red Division title a year ago.

But Bell, the veteran head coach, is hoping that year of experience gives his youthful team longer legs they can use to get over the hump in 2010.

The Dragons return six starters on offense, and four full-time starters defensively, along with a handful of players who got significant playing time a year ago.

"We've got a great group of kids," Bell said. "They're a hard-working group, they had a great off-season and we're excited about the season."

With good reason. The Dragons return their starting quarterback, junior Sean Charette, and his favorite target, Zack Zott, who had 19 catches for 274 yards and three touchdowns.

Also back is running back Marques Stevenson, who rushed for nearly 500 yards and scored nine touchdowns a season ago.

The Dragons' all-purpose threat, Danny Nye, whom Bell refers to as "our home-run threat" is also returning.

Nye, who carries the ball, averaged 20.7 yards per catch and can also return kicks.

Paving the way for what Bell believes will be an effective offense is an experienced line that averages about 245 pounds per player.

Blair Williams anchors the line from the center, while Joey Kohler, who played every game on the line last season, settles in at tackle in 2010.

Also back are 6-foot-2, 290-pound Blake McGee, who was hurt early last year but returned for the second half, and Kevin Cronin (6-0, 245), who filled in ably while McGee was hurt.

"Offensively we're in pretty good shape," Bell said. "Offensively, we're ahead of the game. Guys have experience, we just have to clean some things up. The work they did in the summer and the work in the weight room we're excited about that side of the ball."

The Dragons only return four starters from last year on defense, but several players are back who saw significant time on the field.

Defensive linemen Evan Rourke and Adam Groh, both of whom wrestle for the Dragons, bring quickness and "great leverage" to the line.

Linebacker John Gall is back, as is free safety Tyler Misiak. Defensive back Dillon Siterlet, who started most of the 2009 season at cornerback, is likely headed to strong safety this season.

Also back is defensive back Alex Fine, the Dragons' nickel back down the stretch a year ago.

The experience on the defensive line and the overall speed of the defense has Bell thinking positive thoughts.

"We've got a bunch of guys who can run," Bell said. "We've got good speed defensively, we have experience in the secondary. Our defensive line has some experience. It's a matter of filling the other spots and having the guys gel. We've got talent, now it's a matter of guys learning the system."

The division race is likely to come down again to Lake Orion and Clarkston, until one of the other teams in the retooled Red Division proves otherwise.

The Wolves bounced the Dragons in what amounted to a division title game last year, then knocked them out of the state playoffs, as well.

"I think you'd have to put us and Clarkston up there, just based on the strength of our programs, but it's tough to overlook anyone," Bell said. "Troy Athens is kind of a sleeper, you never count out Troy. (But) we have a lot coming back. We've got talent, now it's a matter of guys learning the system."

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