By Renee Xiang,
Honor. Integrity. Toughness. Togetherness. Sacrifice.
For Stephen Smyte, wearing a blue and white jersey means more than just being a player on the football team. It also means learning these five core values by heart and carrying them beyond high school.
Smyte, the head football coach at DHS, had previously held coaching positions at UC Davis as well as the Canadian Football League. He decided to retire but was called back to the Blue Devils team in 2010.
Smyte recollects that both the players and the faculty had asked him to come back. “I wanted to try and help the program any way I could,” he said. Smyte left DHS in 2013, but returned once again this year to replace John Wiley, who stepped down last year.
After his return, the DHS football team saw an impressive turnaround, and it is thanks to Smyte’s mentoring that students are learning skills that are as important in life as they are on the field.
“It’s not just about football,” he said. “It’s about how to be a great teammate, to be a great son, to be a great player, to be a great student.”
Chris Plasterer, who is a senior at DHS this year, describes Smyte as “extremely intense yet passionate for football.” Plasterer is a fullback and linebacker on the varsity team.
“The most valuable thing I think I have learned is how to keep charging on. I mean, you’re going to have bad practices and games or calls that go against you. In football though, you have to stay focused on the next play… and that’s just like life — you have to press forward,” Plasterer said.
Smyte hopes that his players will remember the lessons he has instilled in them for the rest of their lives. He promotes a strong work ethic and high effort levels, and strives to build character in the young athletes.
With the homecoming game on Friday fast approaching, Smyte says that he has confidence in his team. “We’re a very resilient bunch,” he said. “These guys have worked so hard, and they’ve done such a wonderful job, I couldn’t be more proud of them as a group.”