Asheboro coach Blake Brewer, here at practice earlier this month, will try to help the Blue Comets head in the right direction. (PJ Ward-Brown/Randolph Record)
Asheboro seeks change from five-year stretch of doldrums
ASHEBORO – There’s no reason for members of the Asheboro football team to dwell on the past. What’s ahead is the exciting part for the Blue Comets.
“The expectations are higher,” senior safety DJ Headen. “Another year to prove ourselves.”
Asheboro has dipped to the depths in recent seasons, but that hasn’t depleted optimism.
Coming off a one-win season, the Blue Comets are anxious to change the dialogue regarding their team.
“We were bad last year,” senior safety and receiver Hakemme Butler said. “We’re going to change that. We’re eager. There’s more to go for. As a senior, I’m going to be the leader.”
Asheboro opens Friday night at home against Randleman. Last season, the Blue Comets won at Randleman and never posted another victory.
“We could see the difference after winning a game,” coach Blake Brewer said. “And by that ninth loss, you’re limping to the finish line.”
Asheboro hasn’t won more than two games in any of the last five seasons for a cumulative 6-43 mark during that stretch.
Brewer said he’s hoping the awkward nature of the offseasons prior to the past two seasons no longer will be a negative factor. The Blue Comets are 1-16 under his watch.
He sensed the frustration and the uneven interest.
“Don’t know if it was COVID or the state of the program,” Brewer said.
There are about 70 players in the program, an uptick from the past couple of years.
“I feel like every day is going pretty good so far,” Butler said. “We’ve got more guys out this year and that’s going to help us. We’ve got subs.”
There are encouraging developments on offense, with sturdy Michael Brady at running back. Markell Graham, who suffered a broken ankle last year vs. Wheatmore, is back at full speed.
The quarterback will be sophomore Hamza Khan, who had a strong junior varsity season last year.
“The kids have bought into him,” Brewer said.
He offensive line has had notably solid early practices, something that might have been unexpected.
Headen, also a backup running back, is a third-year starter on defense. He said there’s a different vibe with the Blue Comets.
“We’re working hard every day to turn that around,” Headen said. “There’s just a different attitude.”
As the only Class 3-A in Randolph County, Asheboro is playing smaller neighboring schools in non-league play before moving to the Mid-Piedmont Conference portion of its schedule.
“If we can win in our county, you can get some confidence,” Brewer said. “I think we can turn that into something. We’ve got a tough conference. … We’ve got a ton of athletes. We’re going to look good coming off the bus.”