Coach: Marty Jackson
Offensive Coordinators: Marcus Allen and Ricky Beale
Defensive Coordinator: Tony Kramer
Last year: 3-7, 1-6
Key returners: David Mims, SR-DB; Clay Norsworthy, SR-OL; Ronnie Graham, SR-RB; Matlin Marshall, JR-QB, K’Lon Lovett, SR-DB
(Games at 7:30 p.m.)
8/30: vs. Richmond Academy (TV)
9/13: at Elbert County
9/20: at Jefferson County
9/27: vs. Warner Robins
10/4: at Greenbrier (TV)
10/11: at Jones County
10/18: vs. Grovetown
10/25: vs. Houston County
11/1: vs. Lakeside
11/8: at Northside, Warner Robins
While familiarity can breed contempt, the Evans Knights hope familiarity breeds victory.
The Knights split their first six games in 2012, then lost their last four, but that experience may be the key to a turnaround in 2013.
“We’ve seen the competition we’re up against now and I think that’ll be important for us,” said head coach Marty Jackson. “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. Jackson plans to make the most of all three.
“We’ve got three running backs who have actually rushed for 200 yards (each) in a single game,” said Jackson. “They’ll all be on the field at the same time in a lot of different ways.”
Claiming the job under center is junior quarterback Matlin Marshall, who led the Knights to an overtime win against Greenbrier last year, when starting quarterback Chandler Shoemaker was knocked out. He finished the game with 68 yards on 18 carries and two touchdowns.
One of the players Marshall will be targeting is senior tight end/wide receiver Justin Jackson. Coach Jackson said he has prepared well for the upcoming season and made two big plays on offense and several on defense at linebacker in the Knights’ scrimmage at Thomson on Friday.
Jackson was also happy in the strides he’s seen his defense take thus far.
“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.”
Field position is important in the course of a game, and the Knights have had one of the best punters in Jake Rizner, who was all-state last year.
Senior Jonathon White was Rizner’s backup and coaches say White can boom punts and has phenomenal leg strength.
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,” Jackson said. “We’ve had real good summer workouts. The efforts the kids made in the summer workouts, they prepared themselves to be successful. They’ve given themselves a chance by their efforts in the offseason.”