The Burleson Elks finished 5-5 last year and missed the playoffs with a 3-4 record in District 7-4A play.

The road figured to get harder this year with Burleson losing 38 lettermen and returning just four starters from last year’s squad.

Last year was the first year for Burleson head coach Jason Tucker after Mel Maxfield left prior to the season beginning, and took the Elks’ famed wing-T scheme with him to Amarillo.

Burleson fared well on the offensive side of the ball behind quarterback Corey Bailey, who earned first-team all-district honors, but the Elks struggled on defense, particularly in the secondary.

The Elks scored 280 points last season and gave up 240. In the season opener, Burleson’s defense showed signs of what was to come after surrendering 50 points to Mansfield.

The defense allowed 40 points in a loss to Arlington Seguin and 47 in a 55-47 win over Crowley, but the Elks had big wins over Cleburne (36-14) and Joshua (49-3).

Burleson nearly upset Everman, but lost 21-20, and fell 24-21 to Granbury.

This year, the Elks return Derek Baldeschwiler on the offensive line and running backs Colin Seago and Chris Aylesworth.

Luke Jakobbson returns along Baldeschwiler on the offensive line and Barret Cain, who missed nine games with an injury in 2010, is the quarterback.

Defensive back Kerry Fellers is the lone returner on the Elks’ defense, so his leadership will be instrumental to Burleson’s success on that side of the ball.

Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Magazine has picked the Elks to finish in sixth place in District 7-4A behind rival Cleburne.

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