NORTH ADAMS -- After a 1-5 start, things looked bleak for the Drury Blue Devils.
Since returning home to finish out the schedule, the Blue Devils are 2-0 and will play Hoosac on Saturday. Their chances at a playoff run are still bleak, but the Blue Devils do have a shot at finishing the season with a .500 record.
The rough start and recent turnaround can be attributed to a young team developing as the season progresses. The Blue Devils have 10 sophomores on the roster, several of which start.
"[The younger guys] have gotten a lot of experience this year. They’ve grown and they’re more mature now," senior Alex Bush said. "They’re not young anymore, they’re varsity players and they’ve been doing a great job."
The offensive line features three sophomores and an additional sophomore at the tight end position.
Kareen Beckett, Kyle Clairmont and Nate VanSteemburg have helped senior running back Jose Melendez accumulate 957 yards so far this year, putting him at second in Berkshire County.
"You can’t put your lineman down or they’re not going to block for you," Melendez said. "You have to encourage them everyday, they get better that way.
"I think it really starts with the seniors being positive."
The winning streak started with a win over Monument Mountain and continued last week against Lee. Senior Nolan Bird took over the quarterback responsibilities in place of an injured Jake DiLego before the Monument game and has helped the offense click.
In the two victories, the Blue Devils have scored 78 points. In the first six games of the season, they scored just 45 points.
"The line has been stepping up a lot and the backs have been running really hard," Bird said. "We’ve been putting up like 30 points a game, so the offense is really clicking."
In the first six games, Drury turned the ball over 17 times. Over the course of the two-game winning streak it has turned the ball over zero times.
"Our offense has really been rolling," Beckett said. "The line is doing what they have to do and our backs have gotten the job done. We’re starting to score and that’s important."
Early in the season the Blue Devils were plagued by big penalties and costly turnovers deep in their own territory. The team has also cut down on the penalties, committing just four last week.
Drury has also had a more versatile offense as of late. Bird has thrown for 106 yards and three touchdowns in his two starts. Both Melendez and Bush eclipsed the 100-yard mark in the 42-28 victory over Lee. The offense put up a season-high 308 yards against Monument and then broke it with 331 against Lee the following week.
"It really starts with the line," Bird said. "They’re playing tremendously right now. They are getting so much more confidence and they’re really clicking now. It’s great too because they’ll all be back next year."