Lindsay

As the first game of the season approaches Friday, Aug. 30, the Lindsay Knights are in a different position than 2018.

Not only is head coach Jeff Smiley entering his second season, but the Knights will roll out a new quarterback in Colt Sugars with a new scheme on offense.

The Knights closed out their scrimmage schedule against Windthorst and Smiley said Sugars has settled in nicely.

“You know, we made him starter and we just feel like he has a lot of upside,” Smiley said. “He’s just a sophomore and he’s going to continue to improve. He’s got a really good arm and it’s just a matter of him mastering the offense. We want to see improvement out of them each week.”

Overall, Smiley said he liked what he saw between the Knights’ first scrimmage against Paradise and Windthorst.

“We’re a better football team,” Smiley said. “I thought defensively it went really well. We gave up a couple first downs and offensively, we missed some opportunities, but we’ve seen flashes that we can be pretty good. We feel like we’re gonna be able to run the football, but we have to execute better on offense. We gave up a couple of big pass plays, which was disappointing. We were in position, but we just didn’t make the play and that should probably mean six.”

The Knights didn’t scheme for Windthorst, but now that the games officially count toward their record, Smiley said the preparation has ramped up.

“I think we’ll be a little better prepared this year than we were last year,” Smiley said. “Coach Fortenberry doesn’t show a lot of stuff in the scrimmages, so I know we’ll have some things we haven’t seen just like last year. It took us a while to adjust, but I feel like we will be better because the kids now are a year in the scheme. Whereas last year, we were still trying to learn the scheme. Our kids will be more able to adapt this year.”

The Knights won last year’s battle 27-6 at Era.

Smiley said winning the first game of the season is important for a wealth of reasons and said he’s looking at the line of scrimmage as one of the keys to success.

“It’s one of our goals to win the first game of the season because that kind of sets the tone for the season,” Smiley said. “It’s not make or break your season. But it’s always important to win that first game. I’m excited to watch our offensive and defensive lines play. Those are the two areas that we need to accelerate.”

Patrick Hayslip can be reached at sports@gainesvilleregister.com or on Twitter at @PatrickHayslip

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