SEDRO-WOOLLEY — A year ago, Peyton Burrell was playing football on Mondays as a member of Sedro-Woolley’s junior varsity team.
This season, the senior is playing on Friday nights as a two-way varsity starter and special teams player.
Not bad for a kid who after his sophomore and junior seasons considered leaving football behind to focus on basketball.
After last season, varsity assistant coach Marshall Lobbestael prodded Burrell to continue, and eventually the senior was all in.
“Coach Lobbestael told me I could be a big piece of the puzzle,” Burrell said. “He said I’d have a good shot this year. I knew I’d have to fight for a position. This coaching staff is the best. They are really good. So why not.”
Varsity coach Dave Ward is pleased Burrell made the decision to keep playing.
“He’s really come on this year,” Ward said. “We weren’t really sure what to expect. But Peyton has been a rock on defense, solid at his cornerback position. Offensively, he catches everything that is thrown his way.”
Through four games, Burrell has three interceptions and three touchdowns. And through his first three games, he had 11 receptions for 194 yards — an average of 17.6 yards per grab.
Though his season got off to rocky start, it didn’t take him long to make amends.
“The first game, I dropped my first pass,” Burrell said. “But I made up for it by scoring two touchdowns. I didn’t let that drop get the best of me.”
Asked whether he prefers offense or defense, Burrell said he doesn’t like one over the other.
“It’s just a matter of doing my best on Fridays,” he said. “On offense and defense.”
He said there are similarities between football and basketball, particularly on defense.
“You want to stay in front of the guy,” Burrell said. “And don’t let him get behind you.”
Burrell worked hard in the offseason. He also grew about three inches.
“I got in the weight room and got stronger,” Burrell said. “I did a lot of agility stuff to increase my speed. Everything is faster on varsity.”
“He has the ability to turn a short pass into a big play,” Ward said. “He’s fast, not super fast and he’s not that big. But he doesn’t care. He’ll tell you he always thought he’d be a basketball player. As it turned out, he is a really good football player, too.”