By Bill McCaughey
For The Fort Bend Star
Elkins’ Coach Dennis Brantley knows exactly what the Knights need to do to have a successful season. “We need to run the ball effectively,” Brantley said.
And his message has been received.
“We need to get our momentum going at the start of a game through the running game, and then start passing the ball, which will help the running game be even more effective,” offensive lineman Luke Matthews said.
Matthews, a pre-season all-state team member and a unanimous all-district first team offensive lineman last season, is very confident about the up-coming season.
“I think we are going to be very good this year. Our offense is looking very good. Our offensive line is much better than last year, and our quarterback and receivers are returning. In the past we have been a running team, but we are adding more pass plays this year.
Our defense has a lot of returning guys but we do have some new guys that will need to step up,” Matthews said. “I think we will be a threat to any team, and I definitely think we are going to be one of the best teams in the district.”
Matthews is looking forward to more pass plays.
“I know most offensive linemen prefer run blocking, but I like pass blocking. I like going one-on-one with someone because I always think I can win that battle,” Matthews said.
In charge of the passing attack is quarterback Luke Leblanc, a pro-style quarterback and a Texas Top 30 quarterback. “We will be doing more passing this year. We won’t be forcing the ball deep.
We just want to take what the defense will give us, and move the chains.
We competed in 7-on-7 this summer and that really helped me and the receivers get our pass routes down,” Leblanc said.
“During the pre-district season, we need to get our game timing down. We need to make sure the pass routes are being run right and the blocking assignments are correct.”
Brantley is expecting much from Matthews and Leblanc this season.
“Luke Matthews must dominate the line this year, and Luke Leblanc must protect the ball for us to be successful,” Brantley said.
Elkins has a fast wide receiver in Vernon Harrell, a Texas Top 30 receiver who can run a 4.4 40.
“Harrell is a big play maker,” Brantley said.
Sophomores Isaiah Nixon and Derwin Cooks will be the starting running backs.
On defense, Rodney McGraw II is a Texas Top 30 defensive back with 4.5 speed. “Rodney has over 20 Division 1 college scholarship offers right now,” Brantley said.
Delon Mitchell is a junior defensive lineman with great potential.
“We need Delon to play like an all-stater this season,” Brantley said.
Elkins opens the season against Dickinson on Thursday night at Hall Stadium.