BURLINGTON — This year’s young Burlington-Edison football team likely will be battle-tested soon. Very soon.
The Tigers open their schedule with three Class 4A teams, starting off with county rival Mount Vernon on Friday.
They’ll also face Battleground and North Creek before opening Northwest 2A Conference Sky Division play in Week 4.
Though it will be a tough test for a young team that has new players at many positions, coach Herb Lehman said he likes the smarts and attitude he’s seen from the squad.
“They’re green, they’re new,” he said. “But we have a really smart team. They may not all have varsity experience but they know the playbook, they know what we’re trying to do on offense and defense. They put in the work, and a lot of the guys were backups last year.”
Though the Tigers lost several mainstays to graduation, they aren’t bereft of returners, especially on an offensive line that will see four of last year’s starters back.
That group will likely be led by Dawson Metcalf (5-foot-10, 210 pounds).
He and his fellow Tigers on the line will block for offensive threats including returning players Bret Johnson (5-11, 150), Austyn Frazier (5-8, 160) and Nolan White (6-5, 210), who will make up the core of the Tigers’ attack this season.
Among newcomers, one who bears watching is sophomore quarterback Zach Watson (5-7, 145). Lehman said he likes what he’s seen from the young signal-caller.
“He makes good decisions with the ball, and he’s athletic,” Lehman said.
Three more newcomers will likely bolster that attack: One is Bode Brewer (6-0, 155), of whom Lehman said, “He’ll be all over the field for us.” He’ll be joined by Avery Wells and Alex Carrillo, a transfer from Meridian who will play on both sides of the ball.
“He’s a really, really good football player,” Lehman said.
Johnson and Frazier, who will both play larger roles this season, like what they’ve seen from the younger players.
“A lot of the young kids have really been working,” Johnson said.
Frazier added: “Their mentality is different (this year). They’re more focused.”
Many of the same names will be prominent on defense, including White (defensive end), Dawson (defensive line), Johnson (defensive back) and Frazier (defensive back).
The team doesn’t have much size, Lehman said, so they’ll have to rely on smarts and speed.
“We’ll be the smaller team every night, so we’ll have to move guys around and rely on skill and quickness,” he said. “On defense, we’ll need to get in a lot of stunt situations.”
He said the Tigers will head into conference play ready for battle after going up against bigger schools the first three weeks.
“It’ll be tough ... but (we’ll) be battle-tested,” Lehman said.