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If a positive attitude is a good thing, the McLean Highlanders are in the right place regarding the 2019 high-school football season.

The McLean coaches and players are eager for improved success and winning, believing each is possible because experience is on their side. A high percentage of McLean’s late-season starters in 2018 were sophomores. As juniors this season, in addition to some key seniors and others, head coach John Scholla likes what he sees entering this fall’s campaign.

“It’s night and day at this point compared to last year,” said Scholla, starting his third season as the Highlanders’ coach. “There is a good nucleus. The players have developed in the program, they are working hard and are hungry for success. They want to win and see growth.”

The Highlanders also are hoping to avoid the injury bug, an unlucky situation that sidelined some key players the last two seasons, which ended with 0-10 records.

McLean opens play Thursday, Aug. 29 at 7 p.m. on the road in Manassas against Osbourn Park. It’s home homer is Friday, Sept. 6 at 7 p.m. against the Marshall Statesmen.

Directing the offense in that opener will be junior quarterback Bijan Soltani.

“We like the way Bijan is running our offense and leading,” Scholla said.

A key returner on offense will be running back Ryan Jessar, a player likely to touch the ball a lot.

Joe Lokke was an all-district wide receiver and defensive back in 2018, and he returns.

Some other top McLean players will be safety Bryce Molnar, linebacker Cotter Smart, linemen Liam Downey and Mason Munoz, and Griffin Stieg, who could play multiple positions. Ivan Maric is the place-kicker.

SCHEDULE: Thursday, Aug. 29 at Osbourn Park, 7 p.m.; Friday, Sept. 6 vs. Marshall, 7; Friday, Sept. 20 at Edison, 7; Friday, Sept. 27 vs. Wakefield, 7; Friday, Oct. 4 at Mount Vernon, 7; Friday, Oct. 11 vs. Yorktown, 7; Saturday, Oct. 19 at Herndon, 1; Friday, Oct. 25 at South Lakes, 7; Friday, Nov. 1 vs. Washington-Liberty (formerly Washington-Lee), 7; Friday, Nov. 8 vs. Langley, 7.

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