By David Krueger Herald Writer
ARLINGTON – The Lakewood football team has no fear about challenging a bigger opponent.
The 2A school, which has a history of scheduling difficult nonleague opponents to begin the season, is at it again. The Cougars start with Liberty, a 3A school in the Metro League with perennial state champion Bellevue, and follow it up with defending 2A state champion Lynden – winners of six to the past eight state titles.
“The whole first half of our schedule is pretty good,” said Dan Teeter, the Lakewood head coach. “Liberty is a tough school … and (Lynden is) the top dogs, by far, in our classification. Then right after that we’ve got (Cascade Conference rivals) Archbishop Murphy and King’s. So, we’ll find out real quickly where we’re at.”
According to Teeter, Lakewood has 74 kids participating in football. The number is high for a 2A school but still “down a bit from the last couple years” for the Cougars.
But Lakewood returns quarterback Blake Watts, as well as skill players Brett Bustad and Paulmer Gregory as the Cougars hope to return to the state playoffs after a one-year absence due to a loss to Sehome in the district tournament.
“We won league champs last year and we want to defend that,” Teeter said. “We were disappointed by our quick exit in the playoffs and not making it to state for the first time in a few years. Our goal is to see if we can make it back to state and make a run and see if we can go further than we’ve gone before.”
Head coach: Dan Teeter (9th season)
Key returners: Blake Watts, QB, sr.; Brett Bustad, DB/WR, sr.; Alec Burbee, OL/DL, sr.; Paulmer Gregory DB/RB.
Coach’s quote: “There’s an expectation to win now. A few years ago that wasn’t the case. People kind of thought, ‘Oh, well how are we going to lose now?’ Now we expect to win. There’s been a core work ethic established. Kids have put in the time in the weight room and the summer activities and camps. I think they know what it takes to be successful and they’re willing to keep pushing it.”