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August 29, 2013

More Players in Football Program Should Translate to Bigger Numbers on Scoreboard

The 2013 Tigers celebrate a successful series versus Schuyler County during Friday night’s jamboree. (Photo by Chuck Kigar.)

An infusion of young blood with the addition of a couple key missing components has the Scotland County football program looking for better results in 2013.

With a total of 33 players out this season, including 16 freshmen, second-year coach Daniel Burns is focused on continuing to grow his program.

"This is definitely the most players we've had out since I've been at the school," Burns said. "It's exciting to see the possibilities."

While the population growth at camp was welcomed by the coaching staff, the return of starters Lucas Howard and Landon Swearingen may be the key to the season. After missing last season, the duo looks to have solidified the offensive line, which will be key to the tigers success in 2013.

"With Swearingen at center, Howard at right tackle and Jed Troutman at right guard we definitely may be a little right handed this year," Burns said.

Even with the obvious strength on that side of the line, Burns said the misdirection schemes of the option running game, now entering its second year, will give the Tigers' ground game ample opportunity to pick up yards going left as well.

Tyler Buford will be leading the way on that side of the offense at the guard spot, with the left tackle looking like a rotation of freshman Lane Mohr, senior Dakota Elliott as well as several other possible contributors.

The blockers will be opening holes for a number of backs in a variety of roles according to Burns. Cordie Kigar, last year's starter at quarterback, will be shifting to a slot back position to team up with fellow senior Chris Jackson. Last year's leading rusher, William McRobert will handle the tailback duties again, but will be out the first week for a suspension.

Sophomore Jade Holt will take over the quarterback spot, flipping spots with Kigar. The coaching staff noted that Kigar likely will continue to take snaps at the position as well throughout the year, giving opposing defenses plenty of different looks.

Freshman Ian See will be starting at tight end for the Tigers and looks to be one of the leading receiving threats.

"Ian had a couple catches in the jamboree this weekend, including a touchdown, so we have high hopes for him as a receiver as well as a blocker," Burns said.

Aaron Buford and Kody Parkins will also see time at slot back and receiver.

Jackson also had a big debut at the Friday night scrimmage in Monroe City.

"Every time Chris touched the ball he picked up huge gains for us, including a couple TDs," Burns said of the senior's performance at the jamboree.

The coaching staff was very pleased with the team's performance on Friday, which featured scoring drives against all three opponents.

"It went very well," Burns said. "We have been excited by what we have seen during pre-season practice, but you don't really know what you've got until you go up against opposing teams."

Burns noted the team looked much faster than last year's version, adding they only went five plays deep into the offensive scheme, leaving plenty more options to unveil in future performances.

While SCR-I put points up on the board versus the scrimmage opponents, Burns said it was an improved defense that may be the key to the Tigers' 2013 success.

Troutman, last year's leading tackler, returns to anchor the defense from his middle linebacker position.

Swearingen will handle the nose tackle duties, flanked by Howard at one defensive end and sophomore Brendan Orton.

Troutman will be flanked by new starters Mason Van Hoozen and Austin Day at inside linebackers.

"Moose (Van Hoozen) and Austin were both very impressive at the jamboree," Burns said of the new starters' play on defense.

Jackson and Jade Holt will handle the outside linebacker duties with Ryan Slaughter and Kigar playing corner back and Aaron Buford taking over at safety.

The Tigers will open the season Friday night at home versus Salisbury. The traditional 7 p.m. start time will be moved back to 7:30 p.m. under MSHSAA guidelines regarding player safety due to expected high temperatures.

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