LAKEWOOD — The Cougars are back on the field for the first week of practice and have quite a few replacements to make, having graduated most of their offensive line — and they are taking the opportunity to be even better.
“It’s a process that is inevitable in high school football — you’re not going to keep the kids forever,” said head coach Dan Teeter. “There are a lot of kids who are working hard, looking for their time to shine. And it’s fun for the coaches because we need to go back and re-teach things that our guys with experience already knew — so we are looking forward to it.”
The Cougars went 9-2 in 2012 and ranked sixth in the state for the 2A, having made it to the state quarterfinals. Justin Peterson, Donovan Evans, Kolby Schueller and Brandon Stott were major players on the Cougars’ lineup last year but have moved on to college.
“We have two returning starters on the offensive line,” said Teeter. “Defensively, we’ve got six returners. We are basically replacing everybody who touched the football last year. Both of our quarterbacks graduated, as well as our top receivers and our top running backs. All offensive positions that touched the football last year are gone.”
That’s not to say that the team is lacking in talent — quite the contrary. Players have been taking time in the off-season for practice and weight room hours, all in preparation for this year.
“We have kids who are working hard to step up,” said Teeter. “Blake Watts is the starting quarterback and he has worked really hard in the off-season. Running back Paulmer Gregory, a junior, saw a lot of varsity time last season. Keana Jackson, a senior, is battling for the running back position.”
Some familiar faces have returned to improve as receivers as well.
“Our new slot receivers have been doing very well at practice,” said Teeter. “We’ve got Brett Bustad and Randy Anaya stepping up.”
The Cougars will host Washington High School on Friday, Sept. 6, for the first game of the season.
“We feel really strong,” said Teeter. “Saturday night was one of our big team building days and it was our first double practice. We got to know about everybody on the team and the things they are dealing with, so it was a real positive night.”