The Knights split their first six games in 2012, then lost their last four, but just the experience of playing might be the key to their turnaround in 2013.
“We’ve seen the competition we’re up against now and I think that’ll be important for us,” Evans coach Marty Jackson said. “We were pretty young in a lot of areas last year. We have everybody back, basically, in the backfield. We have a veteran offensive line coming back and they know the competition, they know the speed of the teams they’re playing, so that’s an area where there’s no surprises.”
That offensive line will have a talented trio of senior running backs to block for in Ronnie Graham, Stephon Jacobs, and Joacinto Grimes.
“We’ve got three running backs who have actually rushed for 200 yards in a single game,” said Jackson of Graham, Jacobs and Grimes. “They’ll all be on the field at the same time in a lot of different ways.”
Graham is glad to be a part of the mix and is OK with how the touches will distributed.
“We all count on each other to get yards,” said Graham.” “We’re all just one team and we don’t care who gets the ball as long as we just score.”
Claiming the job under center is junior quarterback Matlin Marshall, who led the Knights to an overtime win against Greenbrier last year after starting quarterback Chandler Shoemaker was injured.
Jackson is also happy in the strides his defense has made.
“I’m real excited about the improvement in the defensive line, the strength we gained there,” Jackson said. “The secondary will be different faces, but we’ve got some speed and agility back there. We’ve got one inside backer that’s coming back (Jonquell Jones) and we’re searching a little bit for another one to step up.”
With all the pieces they have in place and the discipline his team has shown, Jackson is looking forward to the coming season.
“We’re going to be a better football team this year,” he said. “We’ve had real good summer workouts. The efforts the kids made in the summer workouts, they prepared themselves to be successful.”