High school football: Northridge Knights 2013 preview
By Randy Hollis, Deseret News
Published: Saturday, Aug. 17 2013 7:15 p.m. MDT
Here's an in-depth look at the Northridge Knights football team heading into the 2013 season.
Felt’s Facts for Northridge High School
All-time record: 144-84 (21 years)
Region championships: 5 (1993 co, 1998 co, 2001, 2002 co, 2003)
Playoff appearances: 16
All-time playoff record: 20-13
State championships: 3 (2000, 2001, 2002)
State championship record: 3-0
Most played rivalry: 20 meetings with two schools, Clearfield and Layton, both dating back to 1992. Northridge is 10-10 against Clearfield and leads Layton 15-5. Last met Clearfield in 2010.
Felt’s Factoid(s): Northridge has won the most championship games — 3 — without a loss. The Knights have scored the most points in a four-game playoff series, 212 (2001).
“Every year we feel we have as good a shot as anybody to win the region. We come in with one goal, and that's to win our next game, and if we do that every week, we're going to win the region.”
Note: Northridge finished with a 9-3 overall record in 2012 and went 4-1 in Region 1. The Knights lost to eventual state champion Jordan 49-13 in the 5A quarterfinals.
LAYTON — Every high school football coach, player and fan knows that Friday nights can be something special.
And Northridge High head coach Erik Thompson thinks this year's edition of Friday Knights could be something special, too.
The Knights from Northridge certainly won't be the biggest bunch of Friday night footballers in the state, but Thompson likes what he's seen from his team thus far and feels like they could accomplish great things.
"Every year we feel we have as good a shot as anybody to win the region," he said. "We come in with one goal, and that's to win our next game, and if we do that every week, we're going to win the region. For three years in a row, we've been very close to reaching that goal, but it is really hard to win all of your football games, and we've fallen just a few plays short of winning a region championship.
"But any game we go into, we're gonna have a shot, and that's all you can really ask for. It's going to come down to us and our execution, our ability to not make mistakes, and being able to make big plays in key games. If we can do that, we can be as good as anyone around here.
"There's a buzz and an electricity in the air," Thompson said. "The kids are confident and excited, and they know there's power in knowing that our destiny is in our own hands. If we play well and we come together, then we've got a shot to be special."
Speaking of special, the Knights have a special quarterback in returning starter Nate Kusuda, a senior whose older brothers were also quarterbacks who both won state championships in their senior seasons at Northridge.
"He's a very smart, polished quarterback, and this is the first time since I've been head coach that we've had a quarterback that's been a returning starter for us," Thompson said. "So we're excited about that and, in my opinion, he's improved as much as anyone on this team. He's gained 20 pounds, his arm strength is better, and the game's really slowed down for him.
"I'm as confident in him as I've ever been in a quarterback, especially when it comes to the mental aspect of understanding what we're trying to do. I fully expect him to be one of the best quarterbacks in the state this year."
Behind Kusuda is junior Ben Jackson, a dual-threat quarterback who can run as well as pass, and the Knights will have a Wildcat package in place for him to ensure he sees the field in certain situations.
"I feel like I have four really good wide receivers, and they'll all play equally and we'll rotate them," Thompson said. "I have great confidence in all four of them. They all have different strengths — some are tall and fast, some are short and quick, some are slower but with really good hands and run really good routes. So we have an eclectic group in there that we feel we can get the ball to and they'll do a good job for us."
At running back, junior Dayan Lake will step into a starting role this season, and Thompson can't say enough about this young man who will also slide over into a slotback position at times.
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