The Deerfield-Windsor Knights football team is putting in work to get ready for the Aug. 30 regular season opener in Perry against Westfield, and head coach Allen Lowe is liking what is happening so far this summer.
“We really like this group of kids,” Lowe said after Wednesday morning’s practice. “The energy level and the enthusiasm this summer has been excellent. We have had a really good time working with this group.”
The Knights are coming off a 5-5 season including two tough losses right after Hurricane Michael blew through Albany. Inclement weather forced the Knights to play twice in one week — Tuesday and Friday, both losses despite what Lowe’s called great effort. Lowe’s office is still covered with trophies after a roof leak during the hurricane damaged the trophy cases.
The Knights have 48 players so far this summer, but they do not have a lot of starters from last season returning. Quarterback Jack Kimbrel and running back John Collier Logan have graduated as well as eight others from last year’s squad. Lowe and the Knights will be counting on a few seniors including returning starting defensive tackle Matthew Wendland and Evans Plowden to lead this group of younger players.
The Knights will be transitioning to the offensive leadership of quarterback Parker Jones who will be a junior at Deerfield-Windsor. The running back position is also wide open.
“I don’t necessarily try to fit my quarterback into a system,” said Lowe. “What we do is try to tailor the offense to the skill set of the quarterback and that is what we are working on right now with Parker.”
“Let’s put it this way,” he said. “When it comes to the running back position. There are lots of opportunities for guys to shine.”
He said they will be relying on a “running back by committee” system until someone stands out and takes the position.
The Deerfield-Windsor coaching staff remains the same from a year ago except with the addition of Bill Cefaratti. Cefaratti is the Knights’ basketball coach but will be helping with the football team until basketball season draws near, Lowe said.
Last season the Knights lost all four region games, and Lowe said the region will be strong again this season.
“Our region is tough,” the coach said. “Our region schools are always in the mix for the state playoffs and it won’t be any different this season. We will be competitive.”
The Knights are working out in the weight room and on the practice field in shorts and helmets right now but can move into full pads on Aug. 1. There will be a five-day transition period into full pads, so the Knights probably won’t be going full pads until after the first week, Lowe said.
Deerfield-Windsor will host Miller County for a scrimmage on August 23. Lowe said this would be the third year the Miller County Pirates have scrimmaged with the Knights and the partnership has worked out really well. After the scrimmage, the Knights will travel to Perry to play Westfield for the regular season opener and then host their first home game of the season on September 6th against Glenwood of Phenix City, Alabama.