Prep Football: Vols and Knights begin what hopes to be a longtime rivalry
KINGMAN – There is 59.4 miles separating Lee Williams and Lake Havasu high schools, but yet the two squads have only met once on the gridiron.
That will change Friday when the Volunteers host the Knights at 7 p.m. and head coach Clint Sasse hopes it’s the beginning of a new tradition.
“With being so close to each other distance wise and not playing each other throughout the years, I am excited to start something with them,” Sasse said. “They are a good program and we like playing good programs.”
Lake Havasu is entering its first season in the 4A West Valley Region after going 4-6 overall and 1-4 in the 5A Desert West Region last year.
The Knights’ biggest threat will be quarterback Cole Wade, especially after he threw for 2,016 yards along with 14 touchdowns and only three interceptions during his junior campaign.
“He is accurate and makes good decisions,” Sasse said of Wade. “We just have to play our game and make sure we do our job, stay disciplined in our coverages and get a good pass rush at the line of scrimmage.”
Lee Williams will counter with Enzo Marino under center. The Vols have nailed down that position, but plan to turn to a number of other athletes in the skill positions.
“We have a stable of running backs in Cameron Ott, Donnie Simms and Wesley Boyd,” Sasse said. “All of those running backs can also play in the slot or at wideout. We have a great core of receivers in AJ Herrera, Kade Juelfs, Robert Paulson, Cody Ferrin and Hunter Sturgill.”
The Knights aren’t as lucky in that regard, graduating their top running back and wide receiver from a year ago. While that may be the case, Sasse expects no dropoff in play from a team led by Karl Thompson.
“Coach Thompson runs a good program and I’m sure he has worked to get the next guys ready,” Sasse said. “Just like any other game we have to be ready for any threat they have.”
Lee Williams is getting its first live game action against Lake Havasu since a loss in 2015, but that doesn’t mean the Vols are completely in the dark.
“We haven’t played a game against them, but we have met with them over the past few summers to do some 7-on-7,” Sasse said. “So we are familiar with some of their athletes.”
That will no doubt pay dividends on the field, but there’s always that possibility of the unknown in a season opener.
“I think the hardest thing with any first game is that the only true film you can get is from last year’s season,” Sasse said. “A lot can change over the span of a year for both teams.”