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The Herald on the Hill

Knights Hope To Build off of Last Year’s Success

Nicholas Zanger, Writer

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The Pope John Paul II Knights will travel to Whites Creek High School to take on the Cobras. The Knights are coming off one of the best seasons in school history finishing 6-5, where they ultimately lost in the first round of the TSSAA playoffs to the Baylor Red Raiders. The Cobras are coming off a 3-7 year but are looking to start this season with a win against the Knights.

Pope John Paul II has a lot to prove this season after such a good 2016 campaign. The Knights graduated 20 starters on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball, and are looking for answers with a very inexperienced group heading into 2017 season.

NEW FACE AT QUARTERBACK

The Knights will look for answers at quarterback following the loss of four-year starter Ben Brooks under center. The Knights will look to either junior Ben Nixon or sophomore Brooks Heagerty to fill the shoes that Brooks left. Coach Geisinger has yet to name a starter, which fits his philosophy going into this season. “I think we have had the most buy-in we have ever had,” Geisinger said. “They are bought in as a team instead of individuals. We as coaches have been preaching competition all summer, and I think that will help us overcome the fact that we are very inexperienced.”

NEW FACES ON OFFENSE

JPII will look for new faces at the skill positions and most of the offensive line. The Knights will only be returning three starters from last years fantastic offense. They will look to Jake Motz and Edward Agholor to set the tempo in the trenches for the offensive line and are expecting senior Andrew Albert, junior Charles Albert, and sophomore John Martinez to step up and fill the spots from the quality offensive line of last year.

The new quarterback, whoever it may be, will be throwing and handing off to new faces as well. Rory White, the lone offensive returner, is expected to lead a wide receiver group that is made up of senior Nicholas Zanger, juniors Nick Pracht and Garrett Goodwin, and sophomores Brenden Keaton and Brooks Heagerty. In the backfield, Theo Onhiginor and Nolan Underhill look to carry the load at running back.

BRAND NEW DEFENSE

Coach Brian Sneed will be implementing a new 3-4 defense this year instead of returning to the 4-3 that led to so much success last year. The Knights will be looking for production from junior linebackers Blake Minichan, Larkin Kruthoffer, and Dallas Darden to lead a young defensive front that has the potential to be very good but lacks experience. A young secondary will be led by seniors Nolan Underhill and Jordan Phillips, as the Knights hope to improve their pass defense. The Albert brothers, Andrew and Charles, hope to lead a very deep defensive line and will try to stop the run.

SPECIAL TEAMS

The special teams unit will be led by kicker Nicholas Zanger, who will now also step into the role as punter. The explosiveness of Nolan Underhill and Brenden Keaton will be utilized in the return game. The Knights hope the special teams can help flip the field and give opposing offenses longer fields to manage.

This season, the Knights will attempt to build on the great season they had last year. Coach Geisinger has admitted to his players that this is the best team he has ever seen because there are no individuals trying to do their own thing. This year’s team has the opportunity to do something special. Come out and support your Knights!

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The news site of Pope John Paul II High School.
Knights Hope To Build off of Last Year’s Success