Receiver Derek Sides catches a pass at the 7 on 7 tournament in Wichita Falls. Sides had 510 receiving yards in 2013 and is one of the top returning
Receiver Derek Sides catches a pass at the 7 on 7 tournament in Wichita Falls. Sides had 510 receiving yards in 2013 and is one of the top returning receivers for the Steers. (David Flynn)
The road to qualifying for the 2014 7 on 7 Division II State Tournament has required some growth for the Graham Steers' offense.

Second team all-state quarterback Ben Davis is gone, along with second team all-state receiver Bryce Reeves and third team all-state running back Dillon Gonzales.

Davis accounted for 56 touchdowns (41 throwing, 15 rushing) and 4,687 combined passing and rushing yards. Reeves and Gonzales caught 21 of those touchdowns and combined for almost 60 percent of the receiving yards. That means the other 20 touchdown passes were split among eight returning players.

Despite the personnel losses, the Steers have been able to reload this spring as they march to their third-straight appearance in the state tournament and a shot at back-to-back state titles in 7 on 7.
New quarterback Landry Turner takes a snap during the 7 on 7 tournament in Wichita Falls.
New quarterback Landry Turner takes a snap during the 7 on 7 tournament in Wichita Falls. (David Flynn)
The team dropped three games, but went 4-0 at the Midwestern State Qualifying Tournament in Wichita Falls to bring their overall record to 9-3. In the three losses, the team had the lead and lost the game in the last few minutes, according to offensive coordinator Casey Dacus.

The Steers have done all this with a quarterback who, until this spring, played at Springtown High School.

Landry Turner played in 18 games over two seasons for the Porcupines. As a sophomore in 2013, Turner started all 12 games while throwing for 2,716 yards, 38 touchdowns and 18 interceptions.

Coach Dacus said Turner is a good thrower and has established good relationships with the receivers since he started working with the team after spring break. Weston Womack is expected to be the back up.

The Steers' success this summer has come as a bit of a surprise to coach Dacus.

“Lot of times, when you're good at 7 on 7 it's because you've played together for awhile and everybody kind of knows what everybody's doing,” he said. “[Turner's] really picked it up fast and done a really good job of figuring out what the strengths and weaknesses are of each one of our guys and where they want the ball and how to get it to them in the right spot.”

Read the rest of the article in this weekend's Graham Leader.