You probably won’t find Lincoln High School senior quarterback Caden Filer anywhere near a Tacoma area burger joint.
In fact, every day except for Saturday, he eats the exact same meal for lunch and dinner, meticulously portioned: Chicken and broccoli.
“He’s very disciplined,” said Lincoln coach Masaki Matsumoto. “I admire that about him.”
Ask anyone who the hardest worker on the team is, and they’ll all point to Filer. The strict diet? That originally came from his dad, Jamie, who used it while he was training for a Jiu-Jitsu competition. Jaime Filer, Lincoln’s quarterbacks coach, said his son took it and ran with it.
“That’s not us, that’s all him,” he said. “That’s 100 percent him. He’s super dedicated to it, sticks to his diet schedule. … He’s very on top of it.”
It’s gotten to the point where Jaylen Clark, one of Filer’s closest friends, has to think twice about spending time at the Filer house.
“Sometimes I hate going over there, because you have to eat it, too,” Clark joked.
That kind of intensity and dedication sets Filer apart for the Abes.
“He’s been great,” Matsumoto said. “He’s the hardest worker you could ever ask for. He’ll throw for another 30 minutes after practice is over, lift some more. He just leads by example.”
And although Jaime sees a lot of himself in his son, he’s never had to motivate him.
“He’s very driven to be great,” Jaime said. “He works harder than any kid I know. We almost have to tell him to tone it down sometimes.”
On the field, it’s more of the same discipline. As a junior, Filer passed for 2,893 yards, 35 touchdowns and just five interceptions.
“He leads the offense — he’s the field general,” said junior defensive back and wide receiver Julien Simon, a 4-star recruiting prospect. “Getting all the guys into the right places, he knows what he’s doing out there. He’s a coach on the field.”
Filer will be tasked with leading what should be one of the state’s top offenses, with Simon and Clark at receiver, as well as Sumner transfer and Boise State commit Donovan Clark (no relation to Jaylen Clark).
With the amount of pure playmakers on the field, Filer can hardly wait to get the games going.
“I can throw a two-yard pass and it can go for 88 — touchdown,” Filer said. “We’re looking great. Honestly, we’re bigger, faster, stronger than everybody. Now we just have to be better and more disciplined, have more hustle and we’ll win every game.”
The addition of Donovan Clark could help Lincoln take the next step, especially on the defensive side of the ball, where Clark is one of the state’s elite corners.
“Our defense is something special,” Clark said. “You don’t see a lot of 6-foot-3 corners on each side of the field. … It’s going to be hard defense to beat.”
Simon, Lincoln’s nickelback, said Lincoln’s defense is the best he’s seen in his time at the high school.
“It’s going to be hard for anyone to pass on us,” he said. “With Jaylen and Donovan, it’s lockdown. It just adds to our team, really. (Donovan) is a good player on both sides. He’ll add a boost to both sides of the ball.”
For Jaylen Clark, adding another high-level corner means extra piece of mind.
“Having another key player on the other side of the field is huge,” he said. “He’s a very good corner. You want to do your job anyways, but knowing that side of the field is good because you’ve got a guy like that over there, it just takes the worries away.”
After losing to Rainier Beach in the first round of the Class 3A state tournament last season, there’s no shortage of motivation for the Abes this season to have a successful season and make a deep postseason run.
“We don’t like to talk about state around here, but our school has never won a state title,” Filer said. “I want to bring that to the community. I think that’d be great for the community, to see that someone from here can do it.”