DICKSON — As the sun sets on a Monday afternoon in Dickson, Oklahoma, the faint sounds of whistles can be heard on the practice field behind the Comets football stadium.

DICKSON — As the sun sets on a Monday afternoon in Dickson, Oklahoma, the faint sounds of whistles can be heard on the practice field behind the Comets football stadium. 

No, It’s not a train passing by hauling cargo, it’s the Comets football team holding practice in preparation for an upcoming game on Friday.

While this sight isn’t out of the ordinary during the majority of the fall, this year is different.

It’s different because the Comets are holding practice before the first week of the postseason for the first time since 2005. 

Something which also hasn’t happened in recent years is the Comets sporting a record at .500 or better. 

This years team currently sits at 5-5, marking the first time a Dickson squad has managed the feat since 2015. 

While many things have changed over the years including numerous coaches and players wearing the trademark blue and white on a Friday night, one thing has remained the same since 2016: Steve Day preparing his team for an upcoming contest. 

To understand the journey of how far this program has come under the guidance of Coach Day, you only need to look at what it was before he arrived.

When the Comets last made the playoffs in 2005, they entered with a 4-6 record. 

In the three seasons since Day has arrived, he’s taken the Comets from a laughing stock with a notorious losing streak, to playoff contender in the blink of an eye. 

In 2017, the Comets went 2-8 after an 0-10 season in 2016. Dickson snapped its 12-game losing streak in Day’s second year in charge, and have doubled its win total this season. 

Day’s roots started in Edmond where his passion for he game started.  

An offensive minded coach, played quarterback at Southwestern Oklahoma State University for the Bulldogs before becoming a grad assistant for two seasons. 

After leaving his alma mater,  Day moved on to various junior colleges, including being at Independence Junior College, before getting a call to be the offensive coordinator back at Southwestern Oklahoma State.

Following a second departure from SWOSU, Day and his wife were searching for a new place to call home. 

They found what they were looking for in Comet country. 

“My wife and I were looking for a spot to call home,” Day said, 

“We saw this job was open, it was in a great location and everyone I talked to had nothing but good things to say about Dickson, so I applied for it and got the job.”

Since he arrived in Dickson, one of the first things Day has tried to instill in his players and staff is consistency.

“Them (the seniors) not having any consistency was tough for them,” Day said. 

“The seniors I have now have heard the same offensive and defensive schemes for the last four years. So now they are playing with more confidence and to the best of their ability.”

Senior offensive lineman Joesph Bodkins was a sophomore when coach Day arrived in 2016. 

Bodkins said the way the Comets football program is run now is a complete turnaround from what it used to be when he was a sophomore. 

“It is a complete difference,” he said.  “Coach Day has a much smoother program and has all the players in check. The whole attitude of the team is different.”

Day has a simple approach with his team: push them to there limits and make them believe they can accomplish their goals. 

It is one of the reasons Bodkins believes this group of kids are different under Day than previous head coaches.

“He pushes the whole team to their limits, me as well,” Bodkins said. 

“Running us to death, pushing’s to where we wanted to quit but we had to keep on going, and making us mentally tough.”

Even though Dickson has had a successful year on the field, the team also shines in the community off the field under Day as well. 

Every Monday, Day hosts a team dinner at his house to build team camaraderie. 

To build within the community, the Comets help build the city up as well, including laying sod for Habitat for Humanity, cleaning up churches and installing new carpet in the school. 

Through the community work and strong leadership, defensive coordinator Jeff Brown believes the kids and the community has a strong male role model to look up to.

“I have been doing this for 24 years now and the kids have changed since I started,” Brown said. 

“(Day) can relate to them and holding them accountable for what they do and  having a positive outlook. He has been a good all around coach not just in football, but as a good male role model.”

Whether the Comets can pull off the upset against the two-time defending state champs  in No. 1 Millwood on Friday or not will be left up for debate. 

One thing is for certain with the program moving forward, the Comets have found a coach who will not only motivate the kids to succeed, but give them someone to look up to. 

Now that the playoff drought is over, building a perennial playoff team is the new goal for Dickson and Day.

“If you are not trying to win the district and move into the playoffs then I don’t know what you are playing for honestly,” Day said. “Next year isn’t on our mind right now, but you would like to think that we have laid a foundation for the guys that come after them to have a  winning tradition and have some success.”