From the Sideline

Column: Plenty of football yet to be played for Knightdale

September 12, 2013 

It was too big a play to be called back.

Knightdale quarterback Marquavious Johnson found an opening and showed off his track-star speed, dashing 71 yards down the left sideline for 6. Then down dropped a yellow flag.

The penalty was holding, and the Knights would likely be undefeated had it not been issued. Had the play stood, Knightdale would have held a 28-23 lead, at least, over Heritage with about 2 minutes to play in their Sept. 6 meeting.

A win would have boosted the Knights’ record to 3-0, a start fourth-year head coach Rob Senseney has smelled since 2012, but never tasted. Records, of course, aren’t everything in the non-conference portion of the season.

Through three weeks, the Knights’ numbers weren’t as glamorous as we might have anticipated by the Greater Neuse River 4A Conference team thought most likely to beat Garner, which owns seven of the last 10 league titles. But higher expectations of a Knights team that had its first winning record (7-4, 5-2 Greater Neuse River 4A) in school history last season shouldn’t overshadow the fact its three-game start to this season was technically better than it was last year. At least in one respect.

The main difference: Wakefield overwhelmed Knightdale 34-7 in week two last season – far more significant than the recent 1-point loss to the Huskies, although the Wakefield loss came from an arguably more talented team. The Wakefield game was sandwiched between two contests in which Knightdale topped Millbrook and Enloe by an average of 23 points.

Opponents aside, this year’s offensive and defensive productions virtually mirror those from the first three games of 2012.

The Knights averaged a 7.5-point winning margin against Sanderson and Millbrook in the first two games this season before the heartbreaker against Heritage. In the three games, they averaged 19 points on offense and allowed just more than 14.

Against the Wildcats, Wolverines and Eagles to start last season, Knightdale on average scored about a touchdown more than they did through the third week this season. The Knights defense, however, gave up about one less touchdown on average in the first three games of the current season, compared to 2012.

It’s by no means hard evidence the Knights have improved. The numbers just show there’s no reason to think their start this season was worse just because they have yet to produce a flashy, statement win.

That being said, Garner is very much still within reach for the Knights – maybe more so knowing the Trojans, too, started the season 2-1 thanks to a 45-44 loss to Cleveland in week two. Last year, they didn’t lose a game until being dismissed by Jack Britt in the fourth round of the state playoffs.

Knightdale gets Garner at home on Oct. 25 and will be looking to avenge a 42-7 lesson learned at Garner last season.

The Knights will play all but one conference game – including home games against Clayton (Oct. 4) and Southeast Raleigh (Oct. 17) – before taking on the Trojans and wrapping up the regular season at home against East Wake.

Moody: 919-829-4806 or amoody@newsobserver.com

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