By CAREY FOX
Times Sports Editor
On the offensive side of the football, the Knights will have a decidedly different look heading into the 2011 season. Northview will be charged with replacing a four-year starter at quarterback in Trent Lancaster along with his top two receivers from last season in Zac Niehaus and Andrew Butts. However, that doesn't necessarily mean that the Knights won't have any punch on that side of the ball.
Dallas King (6'0, 165 lbs.) steps in behind center to take control at QB and he will have the benefit of an experienced offensive line, which is especially important according to coach George Gettle.
"Up front we have a lot of experience on the offensive line. That should make it easy on the transition for Dallas (King) starting his first year as quarterback and our new receivers starting their first games for us," Gettle said. "In the scrimmage I thought we did some pretty good things offensively. I wasn't that disappointed. Some of the mistakes that Dallas made are common, inexperienced mistakes that we'll get corrected as he gets game experience."
Gettle made no secret of the fact that he's looking to his all-senior line to anchor an inexperienced offense. Brock Wheeler (6'2, 245 lbs.), Ethan Stewart (6'2, 240 lbs.), Bryant Pestoff (6'4, 270 lbs.) and Aaron See (6'1, 235 lbs.) are the horses up front and have a wealth of experience in the trenches.
"That's the nice thing about having experience up front on the line," Gettle said. "We have four seniors on the offensive line. We've talked to them, 'You've got a kid back here that's a little unsure of himself and unsure of the system. You guys have to step up and protect him a little bit better and take a little bit more pride in it than maybe you did last year when you had an experienced quarterback back there that knew the offense and was a four-year starter.'"
"I think running the ball-wise, if we continue to get the push up front that we have, we have very adequate backs in Jessie Miller and Damon Hyatt," Gettle pointed out. "We can bust off some decent runs and have a nice average of four or five yards per carry."
The receiving corps is obviously led by Hyatt's totals that included five touchdowns, but the Knights add senior Patrick Durcholz (6'1, 170 lbs.), who gives the team some size at the position and sophomore tight end Daniel Kimball (6'5, 235 lbs.) should be a bigger part of the offense.
Patrick Durcholz is a senior, who came out this year, he's done a really nice job," Gettle said of the former cross-country runner. "He's got nice size, he's about 6'1 or 6'2, pretty quick, pretty agile and has good feet. He's playing offense and defense, but offensively he's picked up the passing routes and our passing game pretty quickly.
"Of course we've got Damon (Hyatt) and Daniel Kimball at tight end and that's another part of the passing game that maybe we didn't use him quite as much last year, but he'll see a little bit more action this year because he knows what we have going," Gettle continued. "We're working in a kid like Drake McKee (6'1, 185 lbs.), who is a junior. He had a really good off-season, he's still learning, but he can get the job done. They are picking up things pretty quickly, it's a matter of getting more practice and game time. I'm very happy with what we have."
Though there is plenty of room to continue to improve after last week's scrimmage, Gettle was happy with how the team performed against the Braves.
"Offensively I was a little bit surprised that we looked as good as we did (in the scrimmage)," Gettle said. "It's a work in progress, but it's going to take some time with the younger kids on the offensive side of the ball and that's good and bad. We should be a much better football team three or four weeks from now than we were last Friday."