Knightdale, the 2013 Greater Neuse River 4A football champion, still is motivated despite dropping its first two conference games.
Knightdale won the Greater Neuse conference championship and finished 11-2 in 2013, but graduated the bulk of its skill position players while coach Rob Senseney resigned to become coach at Lawndale Burns.
The Knights (2-4) dropped their first two league games this season to West Johnston, 30-14, and Clayton, 32-28, but coach Cedric Dargan said he cannot fault the club’s effort.
“I’m most pleased with our kids’ effort every Friday,” Dargan said. “They’re leaving it all on the field for me and that’s all I can ask.
“I’m also pleased with the way our guys are staying together during the rough patch in our season. There is not a lot of finger pointing and the kids are starting to take accountability for their own actions.”
Dargan said the two early, conference-season losses didn’t affect the team’s work.
“The simple fact that they have another game, another opportunity to compete, is enough to motivate our guys to stay together and to continue to work hard,” he said.
One highlight, Dargan said, has been the play of Jake Deshields, who has started at four different positions – linebacker, tight end, offensive guard and long snapper.
“Whenever we need a spot filled, we turn to him and he hasn’t let us down yet,” Dargan said. “We have a stable of backs that are running the ball well – Malik Branch, Joshua Schenck, Devin Lessane, Khaaliq Lewis and Taurez Williams.”
The Eagles are young and seem only to be getting better. The improvement has shown itself throughout the season, and the Oct. 2 conference meet at South Granville Country Club was no exception, with East Wake Academy placing fourth out of the eight teams in the league despite being shorthanded.
Led by sophomore Caitlyn Seastrunk, the Eagles finished a single stroke out of a third-place tie with rival Franklin Academy. Seastrunk strung together four pars over six holes to claim third place individually with a team-low round of 47. It was her best league outing of the season.
Freshmen Ali Knight (60) and Julia Young (63) rounded out the Eagles scoring on the testing South Granville course. East Wake Academy was without sophomore Ava Young (injury) and freshman Katie Tobin for the match.