The Knights finished 3-7 in 2011, but were a young team playing a lot of sophomores.
“We started so many babies last year that we got experience,” said Jackson.
Jackson said he was worn down by the end of last year, but is feeling revitalized heading into his 10th season.
“We’re going to have some fun and get after it this year,” he said.
At quarterback, Chandler Shoemaker and Maitlin Marshall compete for playing time. No matter who is under center, they will have a stellar option at wide receiver.
Senior Jacob Rizner led the team with 507 receiving yards in 2011 and was an All-Area first team punter, averaging 40.2 yards per punt.
“Rizner, he’s a true receiver, he’s something special,” Jackson said.
Rizner thinks the no-huddle
offense will pay dividends.
“We’ve got a much higher pace now with our no-huddle,” Rizner said. “I think we’re going to be more well-conditioned than other teams. I just think we’ll be at a higher pace than they will.”
Defensively, Jackson expects senior lineman Trevor Fowler to be a difference-maker. Fowler said he would like to get 10 sacks this year, but that it isn’t the main thing for him.
“As long as we win, I don’t really care,” said Fowler.
Jackson said he liked what he saw from his team during practice and needs the team to keep its good work ethic going.
“If we improve every day, hopefully by the time we get to the meat of our season we’ll be a pretty good football team,” Jackson said. “We better be or we’ll be in some trouble,” he said laughing.
The Knights open Aug. 30 at Academy of Richmond County for a Thursday night televised game, then face what Jackson called perennial powers in Jefferson County and Elbert County before beginning their region slate.
“I think all of the Columbia County schools have a pretty tough schedule,” Jackson said. “I don’t see anybody with an easy schedule and we’re right in there with them.”