MEMPHIS, Mo. -- Youth and inexperience won't be an excuse for anyone around the Scotland County football program.
It's not even supposed to be a topic of conversation.
"From Day 1, we said we weren't going to talk about it anymore," Tigers coach Troy Carper said. "We've got kids who understand that. It's about what they can do and how they go about doing it, not how young we are."
Even with that said, Carper had to admit this is a youthful group, especially along the offensive line where Scotland County will have five new starters.
"It's a green group," he said.
But it's a big group with sophomore Eli Kigar and juniors Ethan Tinkle and Hunter Carter all checking in at more than 6 feet and 200 pounds. Carper said it is the largest offensive line Scotland County has had in his 11 years of involvement with the program.
"We just have to develop them," Carper said.
Should they find cohesion as a unit, Carper is certain the Tigers are blessed with enough skill position talent to continue to soar offensively. Behind second-team all-state quarterback Will Fromm last season, the Tigers averaged 37 points and 393 yards per game last fall during an eight-victory campaign.
Sophomore Hayden Long takes over for Fromm and has embraced the opportunity. He will be giving the ball to his twin brother, Alex Long, as well as junior Kaden Anders and senior fullback Branton Burrus, who started at center last season but will be the workhorse in the backfield.
Parker Triplett is a lanky tight end with good hands that adds a dimension to the passing game. There are some fresh faces on offense, too.
"We have four or five kids who didn't play last year who could have an impact," Carper said. "There are some playmakers back there."
Burrus anchors a defense that returns some pop. He led the Tigers with 95 tackles last season, while Anders and Triplett each posted more than 40 tackles. Hayden Long started in the secondary as a freshman.
"We have kids who love to fly around," Carper said. "That's the tone we want to set."
The Tigers want to keep building off last year's success, which included knocking off No. 1-ranked Westran.
"Knowing the opportunity to do something special like that exists motivates these guys," Carper said. "They come every day ready to play. We expect that from them, no matter their age or experience."
Inside the huddle
Who: Scotland County Tigers
2018 record: 8-3 (6-2 Lewis & Clark Conference).
Coach: Troy Carper (14-8 at Scotland County, third season).
Players to watch: FB/LB Branton Burrus, 6-0, 185, Sr.; RB/LB Kaden Anders, 6-0, 170, Jr.; QB/DB Hayden Long, 5-9, 160, Soph.; TE/LB Parker Triplett, 6-0, 185, Sr.
Schedule: Aug. 30 vs. Marceline; Sept. 6 vs. Fayette; Sept. 13 vs. Paris; Sept. 20 at Schuyler County; Sept. 17 vs. Salisbury; Oct. 4 at Westran; Oct. 11 at Knox County; Oct. 18 at Harrisburg; Oct. 25 vs. Louisiana.