Knights head into offseason with high expectations | Football

Kamiak focused on staying healthy
By David Pan | Jun 22, 2017
Photo by: David Pan Kamiak’s Kobe Gavagan (right) looks for an opening behind his blockers during an intra-squad scrimmage at Kamiak High School.

If Kamiak coach Dan Mack had one wish for the upcoming 2017 season, it likely would be for his players to be injury free.

The Knights are coming off a memorable 2016 campaign but for the wrong reasons.

By the end of the season, Kamiak lost eight starters, ranging from its quarterback to wide receivers, running backs and linemen.

A byproduct of having so many individuals out with injuries is that younger players saw significant time on the gridiron. Kamiak’s record, 2-5 in the Wesco 4A and 4-6 overall, was a reflection of the Knights’ lack of experience.

Kamiak did finish the season strong, beating Cascade and Inglemoor in the final two games.

“I was proud of our kids,” Mack said. “We’re looking forward to seeing these young kids blossom. A lot of our sophomores got playing time last year.”

The Knights still will be a somewhat young team with a strong junior class and a sophomore class that has a lot of talent, Mack added.

Kamiak kicked off its spring practices on May 30 and will wrap up most of the formal offseason work with a one-day camp on Wednesday, June 28, at King’s High School.

“They’re going hard,” Mack said of his players. “We had so many injures last year, We’re still nursing them this spring. We’re trying to keep everyone healthy.”

Junior quarterback Matt Merk suffered a torn ACL on the second to last offensive series in the final regular season game. Mack is glad to see that Merk is ahead of schedule with his rehab.

“He’s recovering just fine,” Mack said. “We’re excited about Matt coming back at quarterback. We think he’s going to be special.”

Senior-to-be running back Ben Barton also is returning from a major injury. Barton broke his leg in the second game of the season. Up front, Mack is glad to have senior-to-be linemen Andrew Murphy back. Murphy also caught the injury bug last year. He’ll be joined by senior Austin Pomada.

Merk will have two solid returning wide receivers in seniors Joe  Prikhodko and Hiram Grayson, two more players who were sidelined with injuries in 2016.

“We played a lot of underclassmen,” Mack said. “A lot of the sophomores got their sea legs under them. We’re expecting that experience to translate into this season. ... Our expectations are high. I like our team. I like our attitude.”

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