The spring workouts wrapped up long ago. The summer conditioning program is through. Preseason tests are out of the way.
Head coach Jason Roquemore said the Johnson Knights are now ready to “enjoy the moment” tonight when they begin the 2014 season at Madison County High School.
It’s been a long and arduous offseason for the Knights (2-8 in 2013) as they have tried to prepare themselves to become just the third Johnson team to post a winning record since 2004.
Roquemore knows a win over the Red Raiders in Danielsville would be the perfect cure for any opening-game jitters.
“Home or away, it won’t matter to us,” he said. “Our kids are to the point where they’re just excited to play. We’ve had a great week of preparation and hopefully that’ll carry over into Friday night.”
The Knights have been tinkering with their offense this week after a recent scrimmage against East Jackson. Johnson rushed out to a 35-0 lead and limited the Eagles to only one touchdown, which came in the fourth quarter.
Roquemore thought his team could have finished off even more drives with points. He’s been working with senior quarterback Chase Sims to help him compete against what Madison County will bring on defense tonight.
The Red Raiders should start the season with junior Cade Hancock under center and a spread formation of quick wide receivers who can get in space.
The Knights will rely on two-way linemen Donyae Brown and Jesse Griggs to put pressure on Hancock before he can complete his plays.
“They do a good job of putting the skill kids in space and any time you have kids in space, it’s a challenge,” Roquemore said. “I think (Sims) is going to continue to get better. The best part is ahead of him, he’s excited about how to run our offense. We just want to get more consistent.”
Roquemore was happy to see his 3-4 defense shut down the East Jackson rushing attack. The Knights began the second half of last week’s scrimmage by recovering an Eagles fumble at the East Jackson 27-yard line.
Johnson also played disciplined football and was flagged for only two penalties all night.
“I thought we were physical and really flew around,” he said. “One of these things we look at is where we are in the process. We’re in the part of it where you reap what you sow. Friday night is the reward. Friday night’s not about work, but all the other stuff has led up to this point.”
Johnson returns to Billy Ellis Memorial Stadium on Aug. 29 for its first home game of 2014 in the Battle of Oakwood against rival West Hall.