Following a brief hiatus in 2017, the Elkins Knights returned to the postseason in 2018, only to suffer yet another first-round exit.
The Knights have made it past the postseason’s opening weekend just twice since Dennis Brantley took over as head coach in 2011. But that hasn’t dimmed his optimism about his team, and he has Elkins focused on the future.
“We feel like if we can get past the first round, anything can happen,” Brantley said.
Elkins features an offense that likes to overpower opponents with a strong offensive front, and 2019 looks to be no different. The Knights return four starters on the offensive line.
“Just like last year, our offensive line is the key for us and where it all begins,” Brantley said. “They did a great job keeping our guys upright, and the running game was the strength of our program last year.”
The Knights feature a star-studded offense led by senior dual-threat quarterback Cameron George (2,645 total yards, 27 touchdowns last year). They also have a three-headed backfield monster to complement him.
Jacory Lee (621 rushing yards, eight TDs) was a second-team All-District 20-6A selection at tailback and a first-team return specialist last year. Elkins’ other ball-carriers are Texas State commit Issiah Nixon (300 yards, five TDs) and Derwin Cooks (305 yards, two TDs).
“We’ve got three guys we really feel good about who can get the ball in the end zone,” Brantley said.
On defense, the Knights return six starters from a unit that allowed fewer than 26 points per game in 2018.
Senior cornerback Kierron Ardoin (52 tackles, two interceptions) and senior safety Jordan Jenkins (45 tackles, one INT) – the latter holds offers from the Air Force and Army – lead the secondary. Senior Alvin Williams and junior Lucian Paul (60 tackles, two sacks), along with junior Bryce Bradley, pace the linebacking corps.
Defensive end Jared Chavez leads a defensive line Brantley said is the school’s deepest in recent years. That will help the players stay fresh late in games.
“All those guys have enough experience now where they should be able to help us have a really good year there,” Brantley said.