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Knights counting on duo to carry load

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Marty Jackson will be the first to tell you that Jamerson Turner and Will Scott can do great things with the ball in their hands.

Evans' Jamerson Turner (right) will be leaned on heavily to fill the void left by former standout running back Jonathan Finch. Turner and Will Scott are expected to carry the Knights' offense.   Jim Blaylock/ File
Jim Blaylock/ File
Evans' Jamerson Turner (right) will be leaned on heavily to fill the void left by former standout running back Jonathan Finch. Turner and Will Scott are expected to carry the Knights' offense.

TEAM PAGE: Evans Knights

It's what they do when they don't have the ball, the Evans head coach noted, that makes the pair of senior running backs so valuable.

"All of the running backs take pride in blocking for one another," Jackson said.

Turner and Scott, along with junior William Crow, who Jackson said has stepped up in the preseason, will have the task of replacing standout back Jonathan Finch.

During his senior season, Finch ran for 14 touchdowns and hit 1,000 yards for the second consecutive year.

Turner believes he and Scott complement each other as running backs. Turner is an all-around type of back who can catch the ball out of the backfield, while Scott is a hard-hitting back who also has the speed to get around the corner.

"We're always trying to help each other out," Turner said of each back's willingness to go 100 percent on all blocking assignments. "Last year, everyone felt like they had to look up to Jonathan. This year, we can play our own game."

The backs will line up behind an inexperienced offensive line, with four starters gone from a year ago, and a first-year quarterback, though it's not clear yet who that will be.

Glenn Cassedy has a slight edge, Jackson said, with fellow senior Michael Gaines right behind him and Eddie Johnson on the radar.

Myles McDavid, who transferred from Grovetown this summer, is a standout athlete Jackson plans to use in a variety of ways to get the ball in his hands.

Defensively, a strong corps of linebackers will lead the way for Evans. Among them are Austin Jackson, who had seven interceptions last season, fellow senior Austin Lynn, juniors Thad Greenaway and Jordan Rice.

Meanwhile, the defensive line is anchored on the inside by Devante England, who Jackson says has quick feet despite weighing in at "380-plus," and Kyle Henderson, slim by comparison at 280 pounds.

If games get close, Jackson said he has full confidence in place-kicker Jamie Galvin, who he expects to vie for all-state honors.

As the Knights make the move from 3-AAAA into 2B-AAAA, they welcome back rival Greenbrier as a region foe. The pair have played each year while the Wolfpack competed in Class AAAAA, but now the game means something in the subregion standings.

Jackson said his players' body language has been extremely positive throughout preseason practice.

"They're not doubting themselves. In fact, they've been really confident," Jackson said. "It's quiet, not the 'rah rah' type of team. ... They've been working hard."

Reach Justin Williams at (706) 868-1222 ext. 116 or justin.williams@augustachronicle.com.

Evans Knights

COACH: Marty Jackson (eighth season)

OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR: Mike Bibee

DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR: Ricky Beale

REGION: 2B-AAAA

LAST YEAR: 8-3 (7-2 Region 3-AAAA). The Knights finished tied for second in the region last season and lost to Ware County in the first round of the state playoffs.

STARTERS BACK: three offense, five defense

KEY RETURNERS: RB Jamerson Turner (Sr., 6-1, 190); K Jamie Galvin (Sr., 6-0, 180); DB Clifford Saggus (Jr., 5-10, 165); LB Austin Jackson (Sr., 6-1, 220); LB Thad Greenaway (5-11, 190)

KEY GAMES: Subregion games -- at South Effingham, Oct. 1; at Greenbrier, Oct. 8; at Statesboro, Oct. 15; Effingham County, Oct. 22; Lakeside, Oct. 29

GLASS HALF FULL: Turner steps in as the new starter in the backfield and, with the help of fellow senior back Will Scott, makes a young, inexperienced offensive line look good. The Knights' corps of linebackers play up to their full potential and lead what has potential to be a strong defense.

GLASS HALF EMPTY: An inexperienced offensive line, along with a first-year starter at quarterback, leads to some growing pains for the Knights' offense.


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