Knights need younger players to step up their game | Football

Kamiak sees increased overall numbers, more multi-sport athletes out
By David Pan | Jul 03, 2019
Photo by: David R Pan Kamiak quarterback Nick Laman hands the ball off to running back Nolan Martin.

Kamiak football coach Bryant Thomas is experiencing a case of déjà vu.

While last month marked the start of the second year of the Knights under Thomas, the Kamiak coach and his staff are repeating a lot of what they were saying at this time last year.

Many of the faces at the Knights’ practices and scrimmages are new.

“Half the kids weren’t in our program last year,” Thomas said. “It’s almost as if we’re starting over. We’re trying to teach the kids our core covenants, the things we believe in as a staff. It’s our second year, but it’s like the first year all over.”

The renewed interest in football has led to an overall increase in numbers, including some multi-sport athletes who are expected to make an impact this fall.

The returning players give the Knights a solid core to build on, but whether that will translate into more wins remains to be seen.

Kamiak likely will continue to be one of the younger teams in the tough Wesco 4A. Thomas said that he counted seven seniors on the team.

“We’re a young football team,” he said. “The majority of kids are sophomores and juniors. The more they can get out and play football the better.”

Kamiak should have better depth this season and that’s prompted a decision to have more players focusing on only one side of the ball as opposed to going both ways.

Two examples are sophomores Nick Laman and Damon Crouse.

Laman will be playing quarterback, while Crouse is expected to anchor the secondary.

Thomas is excited about the Knights’ skill positions with the returning of running back Nolan Martin., cornerback Dylan James and linebacker Jonak Varela. Syrus Vannatta, also a baseball standout, should help to bolster the Kamiak receiver corps.

“He’s got some pop on the field,” Thomas said.

All but one member of the offensive line is back, but the challenge the Knights face two challenges – a lack of experience and potentially size. Two sophomores, two juniors and a newcomer will face the task of going up against more experienced lines.

Thomas noted that linemen from such teams as Lake Stevens and Glacier Peak have gone on to Division 1 colleges. The Vikings advanced to the 4A state championship game last season.

“We’re a year older and a year stronger. We’ll be in a better position to compete,” the Kamiak coach said. “If those kids stick with it, they’re going to do well.”

The skill level among the Knights is high, but again the experience level probably doesn’t match up to their opponents.

“Our guys are young and talented,” Thomas said. “The sophomores going up against seniors. … A year down the road we’re going to be OK.”

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