Talented underclassmen, returning seniors boost King’s playoff hopes | Football

Junior quarterback has plenty of wide receivers to target
By David Pan | Aug 30, 2018
David R. Pan King’s junior Luke Marion takes over at quarterback this season.

King’s came into the 2018 season with two viable options at quarterback.

Junior Luke Marion and sophomore Casey Needham both saw action last year during what could be best described as an injury-ridden season for the Knights.

After a summer of competition and the start of fall practices, coach Jim Shapiro and his staff settled on Marion as the starter. Needham, who will back up Marion, shifts to wide receiver and also will start at linebacker.

Shapiro said that going with Marion was a big picture decision.

“Neither kid beat the other kid out,” the King’s coach said. “Luke has some pretty good velocity. … He’s got good vision. He’s able to see the field real well. He throws a really nice ball – short, intermediate and definitely deep.

“He can run the ball. He’s football smart.”

Marion noted that he started two games last year.

“I have some experience playing varsity,” he said. “I think I’m pretty accurate with the football.”

Shapiro said the Knights will run a traditional spread offense and try to establish the passing attack, while not neglecting the run game.

King’s receiving corps runs deep and is bolstered with the addition of Needham, who is adapting well to his new role on offense. The position is new to the King’s sophomore standout.

“I played quarterback, so I know all the routes,” Needham said. “I feel like blocking I definitely need to work on and just sharpening my routes and making them crisp and really getting off the line quicker.”

In part because many of the wide receivers also play on defense, the plan is for the Knights to rotate several players throughout the game.

Seniors Jacob Gaenz, Max Lane, Luke Bobin, Noah Welch are expected to be among Marion’s favorite targets.

“We had a stable of underclassmen, eight to 10 kids, who’ll see action on varsity,” Shapiro said. “We’re going to rotate them in. It’s good to have some younger wide receivers.

King’s also has experience in the backfield with seniors Ben Haberman, Michael Bicknell and Josiah Siers.

“They’re all really strong backs,” junior lineman Colin Hamilton said. “They have the ability to run really fast and hit the holes hard.”

All three senior running backs bring different skills to the backfield, Shapiro added.

Many of the standouts on offense also play integral roles on defense.

But the three players who Shapiro is looking to lead the defense are senior linebackers Avery Hamann, Danny Bogen and Jacob Renneke, all of whom are drawing interest from colleges.

The three are all 6-foot-2 or taller and 200-plus pounds.

“They’re big kids,” Shapiro. “They’re quick, athletic and strong kids. They’re going to have lots of tackles.”

The Knights host Lakewood in a non-conference season opener at 7 p.m., Friday, Aug. 31, at Woolsey Stadium. Three more non-conference games follow against Lakewood, Nooksack Valley and Cascade (Leavenworth) before the Knights kick off league play against Coupeville (Friday, Sept. 28) in the inaugural season for the North Sound Conference.

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