Newport head coach Drew Oliver gives directions during a drill. Benjamin Olson/ staff photo

Newport head coach Drew Oliver gives directions during a drill. Benjamin Olson/ staff photo

Knights hope to be sharp on the gridiron

Newport enters new football season with experience.

Last season was a trial by fire for a young Newport Knights football team that finished with a 1-8 record.

Sixth-year head coach Drew Oliver is heading into the new season with a more experienced team. Because the team was so young last year, they will be returning a handful of juniors and seniors that got ample playing time last year.

“(Last year) some of them played before they were ready,” Oliver said. “This year, we’re more experienced but still relatively young.”

One of the key components for the Knights offense will be senior Nolan Rouse, a 5-11, 165-pound quarterback that will fit into its option-style offense.

“In our offense, you gotta be an athlete and make plays with your legs,” Oliver said. “Rouse can do that.”

The Knights lost some close games last year, including one-possession losses to Inglemoor and Issaquah. This year, the team will rely on its experience to hopefully win those tight games.

Two of the many juniors that are bringing experience over from last year are Nathaniel Chang, a 5-5, 150-pound running back and cornerback, and Nirun Turner, a 5-8, 165-pound running back and strong safety.

Opening up gaps for the running game will be junior Jackson Slater, a 6-3, 285-pound tackle. Oliver said Slater is an anchor on the offensive line, a key position for the run-heavy Knights.

While results are important and he hopes to see that improve, Oliver said he prides himself on being a “character coach.” Oliver focuses on developing outstanding people, not just outstanding athletes.

Oliver hopes that if the team buys into the system and works hard, the victories will follow.

“It’s an exciting chance to bring the program where we want it to be,” Oliver said.

NEWPORT Schedule

Sept. 6 home vs. Rainier Beach, 7 p.m.

Sept. 13 home vs. Bellevue, 7 p.m.

Sept. 20 home vs. Mercer Island, 7 p.m.

Sept. 27 at Skyline, 7 p.m.

Oct. 4 home vs. Issaquah, 7 p.m.

Oct. 10 at Inglemoor, 7 p.m. (Pop Keeney Stadium)

Oct. 18 at Eastlake, 7 p.m.

Oct. 25 home vs. Mount Si, 7 p.m.

Newport linemen push a blocking sled at practice. Benjamin Olson/ staff photo

Newport linemen push a blocking sled at practice. Benjamin Olson/ staff photo

More in Sports

Epp and Lopez shine at Mat Classic XXXII

Bellevue Christian’s DeAunte Epp took fifth and Newport’s Keir Lopez placed sixth… Continue reading

Totems fly past competition to win first-ever state swim title

The Sammamish boys swim and dive team won its first 2A state… Continue reading

Newport girls set to take on Issaquah tonight at districts

Playing aggressive basketball every single quarter will be a vital part of… Continue reading

Local gymnasts qualify for state meet

Bellevue-area gymnasts competed at the 2A/3A District 2 gymnastics meet on Feb.… Continue reading

Bellevue girls rally past Interlake

Wolverines erased double-digit halftime lead to advance in loser-out game.

Bellevue-area wrestlers qualify for state

Four Bellevue-area wrestlers qualified for the Mat Classic on Feb. 21-22 at… Continue reading

Bellevue boys keep season alive with win over Lake Washington

The Wolverines booked a spot in district tournament with 48-40 win on Feb. 11.

Saints fall to Islanders in KingCo championship

Interlake boys lost 61-36 to Mercer Island in the 3A KingCo tournament championship on Feb. 11.

Green resigns as head football coach at Bellevue Christian

Todd Green will leave the program to focus on family after seven seasons as head coach.

Most Read