YORK — As Bruton head football coach Reggie Jones put it, his son, Daniel, had been the face of Bruton athletics the past few seasons as a football, basketball and track and field standout.
Not that Daniel Jones, now a freshman on the University of Richmond's football team, was arrogant about it. But he was "the guy," his dad said.
With Daniel Jones, Jalen Carr and Danjie Taylor all gone after graduation, that leaves third-year quarterback and senior Greg Dockery assuming the mantle of leadership from those former stars.
"Greg should have next," Reggie Jones said, "And rightfully so."
Daniel Jones and Carr were Bruton's primary offensive playmakers last season. This year, expect a more balanced approach, led by a more collected Dockery, who is receiving interest from Campbell University in North Carolina and Randolph-Macon College.
"We're trying to get the ball in different people's hands at different times," Dockery said. "We're spreading it out evenly, keeping everybody involved and in the game. With Daniel and Jalen leaving, that kind of — not put more stress on us — but made us think more about different routes now. We have to spread the ball around and keep people involved in the game."
Some of Dockery's big games last season included throwing for 230 yards and two scores against Poquoson. In the last game of the season, he ran for an 84-yard touchdown, though it was the Panthers' only score of the game in a loss to Warhill.
"Greg is special, has a whole lot of talent, because he can run the ball as well," Reggie Jones said. "I think we'll be able to showcase that even more this year because the experience he has around him up front, especially with the whole offensive line back, that will give us more depth. It will give us more options that we can go offensively."
Dockery has some help on the leadership front from the likes of classmates Kirk Cooke, a strong side tackle, and running back Isaiah Crim-Daughtrey.
Because he has helped steer them along, Cooke takes pride in the veteran core of linemen that includes senior center Elijah Graves, junior guard Giovani Campbell, junior guard Arndray Battle, and senior tackle Hudson Daniel.
In the huddle, they'll await Dockery, who added some muscle to his 6-0 frame and now weighs around 220 pounds.
"Greg is really good at controlling the line," Cooke said. "He can always get the read that he needs. He's always observant with the plays. If he needs to change the play, he can automatically get us the right call."
In his second season after transferring from the state of Washington, Crim-Daughtrey said he is more of the "lead by example" type.
At 5-9, 175 pounds, Crim-Daughtrey, got more carries in 2015 as Ian Gruver's backup as the season wore on.
Crim-Daughtrey thinks of himself as a downhill runner in Bruton's mix of spread and wing-T offensive formations. "I can probably make defenders miss just by running over them," he said, "more than likely. But give me enough space and I'm probably going to take it to the house."
Dockery and Reggie Jones expect junior Millyon Mitchell to be another option for Dockery at running back and receiver and Reggie Jones said Mills Godwin transfer Jahleel Aiken has impressed in preseason.
"We're just trying to be the best team that we can be," Dockery said. "Looking forward, not even to the playoffs necessarily, but trying to get through the Bay Rivers, it being as tough as it is, just trying to get through it and make the most out of it… Just trying to do what we can and make the playoffs. That's pretty much how we're looking at it this year."
Holtzman can be reached by phone at 757-298-5830.