Knights preparing to air it out this season | Football
Last updated 7/18/2019 at Noon
Coach Jim Shapiro admitted he was a little concerned about his team as it prepared to scrimmage at the ninth annual King’s football camp.
Seventeen teams from across the state and in all different classifications from 4A to 1A descended on Woolsey Stadium in late June.
The start of offseason practices for the Knights had not gone well. Shapiro described them as possibly the worst he’s seen in his 20-plus years at King’s.
“We were really fragmented. We did not have a lot of kids attend practice,” he said. “We continued to practice with the kids we had.”
Fortunately, attendance picked up at the camp, and Shapiro was impressed by how King’s played.
“We dramatically exceeded our expectations. We competed at a high level. All the pieces came together.”
The camp, which was the last of the organized activities with the players except from a passing camp scheduled in late July, took on an added importance given some changes with the coaching staff.
Longtime offensive coordinator/assistant head coach Kevin Peterson has cut back on some of his responsibilities. While he still coaches the offensive line, he no longer is handling the play-calling duties on offense.
Shapiro has now taken over as the offensive coordinator and Dave Taylor is the new defensive coordinator. Taylor is a 1985 graduate of King’s, and previously was an assistant coach for the King’s junior high team.
“It’s fun to get back on the offensive end,” Shapiro said.
Shapiro already has made one big decision naming senior Luke Marion as the starting quarterback. Marion was tapped as the starter last year, but the Knights later turned to senior Casey Needham, who is shifting to halfback.
“We named him the starter earlier this spring,” Shapiro said of Marion. “This spring he’s done an exceptional job for us. We just opened the competition early. He’s got a good arm. He always has. He’s a year older and stronger. He’s doing a good job of leading the offense.”
Having Needham in the backfield should bolster the King’s offense.
“I think it’s a team decision for both kids,” Shapiro said. “They’re in their best positions.”
Because Marion’s strength is throwing the ball and not necessarily running, the Knights likely will be passing more than they did last year when Needham ran the ball often in the offensive scheme.
“I see us airing the ball out more this year,” Shapiro said.
The passing game will be boosted with the return of all-league senior receiver Davis Campbell, who’ll be joined by juniors Anthony Scherrer, Anders Ruud and Elyon Sundquist. The three saw some varsity playing time in mostly backup roles as sophomores.
The offensive line is anchored by senior Colin Hamilton, a 6-foot-7, 270-pound standout, who is drawing interest from numerous Division I schools. The rest of the line is younger and smaller (not surprisingly), but looks solid.
Even with several key returners, King’s still has the look of a young team. The roster includes only eight seniors. At team camp, Shapiro said that four or five freshmen impressed him with their play and made their case for playing time.