Aug 13, 2013
Knightdale High School's football team is hoping to turn the tables in the Greater Neuse River Conference this fall.
In a conference that has been dominated by Garner since its inception, Knightdale believes it has what it takes to win the league this season.
This season, the Knights return a talented group of seniors – a group that beat Garner at the junior varsity level.
After finishing third in the Greater Neuse River last season, and with a lot of talent returning, Knightdale knows it has higher expectations, but they're not shying away from them.
"I want them higher. When you have low expectations and people want to clap you up and pat you on the back for a moral victory, well that's the kind of season you're having," said Knightdale coach Robert Senseney. "I really fell we could be a championship team and we can play at a high level. It's just going to come down to us cleaning up a lot of stuff right now."
Among the returners for Knightdale are two big playmakers – Marquavious Johnson and Marcell Johnson.
"Marquavious, he's just got a different gear than most other people," Senseney said. "He can stretch a defense vertically or horizontally."
Last season, Marquavious Johnson ran for 1,213 yards and 20 touchdowns. As a junior, he was a big contributor to Knightdale's 7-4 season.
"He's just one of those kids that can make anything happen at any point in time," said Senseney.
A big part of the improvement Knightdale's program has seen under Senseney is contributed to the weight room. The Knights have dedicated themselves to the weights, and their coach believes that it has paid off.
"We don't want kids who don't want to be in the weight room. That's who we are," he said. "We live in the weight room... I don't think you win football these days without being in the weight room."
For the Knights to make the next step to the top of the league though, Senseney says it will come down to one thing, and it isn't talent.
"The main thing for me is effort," said Senseney. "Where are we effort-wise on a play? We can clean up mistakes, we can't coach effort."
With the talent coming back, with the dedication in the weight room and with a big effort, Senseney expects big things. He also knows people outside of the program are expecting the same thing.
"This is the team everyone has been talking about. This group has wins over Garner, they have wins over Clayton. They've got wins over the top teams in the conference, now it's time for us to put it all together and do it at the varsity level," he said.
Knightdale's season will begin on Aug. 23 at Sanderson. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m.
Follow Nick Stevens on Twitter @NickStevensHSOT