Few positions require an almost arrogant confidence and short memory like playing defensive back.
On the Keller Central football team, the secondary boasted a healthy enough dose of both along with talent to help the Chargers forge into the playoffs.
Leading the secondary was senior safety Tony Dracopoulos, a three-year starter.
Dracopoulos went in to the first-round playoff game with Arlington Bowie with three interceptions. His ball-hawking abilities boosted that total to four. He also blocked a field goal attempt.
He also grabbed five picks last year and another two in his sophomore season.
The capabilities of the Chargers’ secondary were based on the chemistry of the group working together in the back of the defense. Some feel the secondary is a lonely group, roaming the field behind the defensive front and linebackers.
“We’re not arrogant, but confident,” Dracopoulos said. “If you get burned you have to forget it and make the next play. In the secondary, if you make a mistake, everyone sees it.”
The impact Dracopoulos and his teammates have made can be attributed to the work which started after last season and the desire to put in the work to be in this position.
Working every day after school on technique with the other secondary members, Central was focused on setting school history by winning at least one playoff game.
The 20-17 loss to Bowie left Dracopoulos and the Chargers heartbroken and devastated.
Dracopoulos said he was so reluctant for the season to end that he didn’t take off his pads and uniform until the bus arrived back at the Central locker room.
“I wanted to keep wearing it,” he said.
One of the elements which made the season so special was that the Central defense was working without stars, standouts or without physical specimens, Dracopoulos said.
“Our secondary is not a bunch of freak athletes,” he said unashamedly. “The coaches give us good reads and we spend time watching film.”
Dracopoulos is 5-10, 175 with ample athleticism and agility. He also plays for the Chargers’ basketball team.
His ability to get up in the air work well for both sports.
Now, with the loss last week in the playoffs, it will be time for Dracopoulos to start his season on the hardwood.
In retrospect, Dracopoulos admits he didn’t know nearly what he does now as when he played as a sophomore.
What he knows he’ll remember from this season, though, is the tight bond the team formed and how it led to Central winning the so-called “City Championship,” with wins over the other Keller ISD schools.