King’s Way Christian coach Brian Rodriguez makes it clear he’s with the Knights for the long haul.
“This is not a stepping stone to where I want to be,” he says.
Stability might just be what the Knights’ football program needs. Rodriguez will be the first coach in the past five years to stay with the team at least two years. It’s given new life to the Knights, who had 25 players at spring ball, the most the program has ever had, Rodriguez claims.
The guys who turned out all summer, including to weight-room sessions adjacent to Rodriguez’s office, are a talented bunch, too. It starts with quarterback Kemper Shrock, who threw for 1,700 yards and 20 touchdowns last season. The 6-foot-5 senior has garnered interest from Western Oregon and Pacific Lutheran this summer, as he continues to develop his ability to read coverage. The Knights also hope to use his legs more this season to open up the offense.
“This has been my first year having the same offense two years in a row in my whole life,” Schrock said. “You don’t have to think about the old stuff as much because you already know.”
He’ll be primarily throwing to sophomore Bryson Metz and junior tight end Bryce Dodge. The two combined for more than 1,000 yards and 15 touchdowns last year.
“I feel like we’re taking practice more seriously,” Metz said. “We didn’t have the season we wanted to, so we’re just really hungry.”
The Knights finished 2-7 and last in the 1A Trico League in 2018. That’s not something team leaders like Bailey Meek take lightly. Meek, who impressed at a Western Oregon football camp, is a 6-foot-3, 215-pound two-way lineman with college aspirations. He’s applauded by coaches for his leadership on and off the field, and he doesn’t mince words when talking about the team’s goals:
“I’ll say it: I think we can win league.”
3 things to Know
— There’s a new covered grandstand that seats 900 at King’s Way Christian’s field.
— Coach Brian Rodriguez was an assistant on the state runner-up boys’ basketball team.
— The Knights return eight starters on each side of the ball.