KNIGHTDALE — No Knightdale football team has ever faced the challenge of a third round state playoff game.
But star Knights players and senior brothers Marcell and Marquavious Johnson say they’re ready for the challenge. Their synergy has helped them through adverse game situations since their youth football days in Wendell. They hope for more of the same Friday in the third round against top-seeded and undefeated Scotland High School in Laurinburg.
The Knightdale program has accomplished several firsts this season: a win over Garner, a conference title and a first-ever ticket past the first playoff round. The Knights haven’t lost a game since falling 23-22 to Heritage on Sept. 6.
“We’re just trying to keep it going, keep the streak going on and not give up,” said Marcell Johnson, a linebacker and multi-position offensive player. “We know what it feels like to win, and everyone likes that feeling and no one’s ready for it to end.”
Marquavious Johnson, the Knight under center, said every quarterback experiences more pressure the farther they advance into the playoffs. He finds reassurance in the support of his coaches, teammates and family.
“They were there last night,” Marquavious said Saturday after Knightdale’s 16-15 triumph over Hillside on Friday. He scored twice in the game, including a 15-yard scamper with 26.5 seconds left that sealed the second-round win over the Hornets.
The Johnson brothers have had their sights on this season for years.
They watched their older brother, Devin Johnson, play three years at Knightdale before joining him on the team as freshman in 2010. Knightdale finished that season, the first under head coach Rob Senseney, with a 3-8 mark.
The Knights enter Friday’s game with an 11-1 record.
“We always had the mindset that when we came into high school we were going to change (the program) by our senior year,” Marcell said. “It became a vision from winning a (Pee Wee) Super Bowl in Wendell, winning the division in middle school, and now doing what we are in high school.
“The team looks up to us and we just try to lead.”
At times, that’s meant offering guidance to each other.
“We’ll talk when the other is down and pick them up,” Marcell said. “It’s pretty cool. We know what each other is capable of doing.”
Marquavious expects as tough a game as the Knights have seen this season from the 13-0 Fighting Scots. Scotland is averaging nearly 46 points, 13 more than the Knights, and allowing about 17 points per game.
“I know my team will try to work hard and, win or lose, we’ll try to do our best,” Marquavious said. “I feel pretty good about all the accomplishments we’ve made and am hoping we can make more.”
Moody: 919-829-4806; Twitter: @easternwakenews