If experience is the key to a winning season, Marty Jackson and his Evans Knights may be in for a good year.
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, who called the Knights a junior team.
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 will be vying for playing time. No matter who is under center, they will have a stellar wide receiver to throw the ball to.
Senior Jacob Rizner led the team with 507 receiving yards in 2011 and was an All-Area first teamer at 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,” Fowler said.
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.
The Knights open Aug. 30 at Richmond Academy for a televised Thursday night game, then face what Jackson calls perennial powers in Jefferson County and Elbert County before beginning its 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.”