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Rife with newbies, Lakewood coach expects better season
Coach Teeter still looking for Cougar leaders
Lakewood football coach Dan Teeter badly wants to beat his alma mater Lynden Christian when the teams meet Aug. 31 for the Cougars season-opener.
But Teeter and his staff are still waiting for a few players to rise to the occasion and provide the kind of leadership that will help them maximize their season.
The team, so far, is still looking for some core leadership to step up, he said. We kind of had a practice where things kind of came to a head and we made a determination that the season is in the guys hands. Its going to go as far as they want it to go.
Thats not to say the team lacks talent. Lakewood returns second-team all-league receiver Marcus Harkins Were really excited about the things hes going to do. We dont think theres a lot of guys in the league who can compete with him, Teeter said and the coach added the names of several more guys he expects to make big plays this season. But without the drive to work hard and the hunger to win, it could be a long season for a Lakewood team that won just one game in 2006.
Despite that record, Teeter said turnout has been much higher this season than last year, his first year on the job.
Obviously last year they saw something that made them want to come out for the first time this year, Teeter said.
Still, even with the boost in numbers, several players will start on both sides of the ball. And though any coach will tell you the best player starts, Teeter also acknowledges that it might be in the teams ultimate interest to spread starting jobs around as far as talent will allow.
Because of depth, weve got a lot of two-way starters, he said. It would be nice to have guys start on one side of the ball and be a back-up on the other side of the ball. To be a starter on both sides takes a pretty special kid. It takes a lot of conditioning to step up like that.
Several Cougars will be giving it their best shot.
Among them is Jay Wettlaufer. The senior, who returns as starting quarterback, will also start at safety. Junior captain Joey Davenport just may be another. The linebacker is vying with Ernest Mitchell for time at running back. Two more are among an expected seven juniors or seniors starting in their first season for Lakewood.
Senior Max Dragitch played at Marysville-Pilchuck last season, and after just a week of two-a-days, Teeter said he expects Dragitch to start at tackle and defensive end. Another rookie senior, Michael Mauer, will be splitting his time between playing linebacker and receiver this season.
Any one of the players could step up into that leadership gap, Teeter said. The ingredients are in place for a much-improved season.
I think every one of the guys is going to improve from last season. I think the confidence level will be up, theyve matured. I was a first-year coach to the program last year, he said. Last year there were some guys who stepped up right away and took control. When that happens Im really looking forward for the team to take off.