From Oak Cliff with pride!
The Kimball Knights are going into this season with something to prove after going 7-4 overall and making the playoffs in 2019.
“The expectations are always to make it to the state championship” Knights head coach Henry Cofer said. “Kimball has always maintained a history of having great football players and teams just haven’t brought home a state title.”
With a coach that prides himself on the history of the program, the Knights have set their goal to do just that: win state.
Cofer knows what is at stake here; he was once a standout for the Knights.
“Taken the job, I knew the high expectations of winning now, but the mindset of the program is what I was looking to change; just to change the prospective on how people looked at Kimball Football as a whole,” he said. “Bringing that winning mentality has the Knights on the rise in DFW with star-studded talent on both sides of the ball.
If defense wins championships then Kimball definitely has that going for them, especially with All-American defensive back Ishmael Ibraheem roaming the secondary.
“Ishmael is a special talent who also can be just as great on the track,” Cofer said. “I’ve seen Ishmael close in on a route from across the field; he extended out and dove to break up a pass. Now that’s the type of play you see defensive backs make on Sundays.”
The Longhorns commitment is a lockdown weapon the Knights plan to utilize in many facets of the game.
“Ishmael is an amazing kid that keeps the joy in the locker room that and is always smiling, but don’t take that as a weakness,” Cofer said. “Ishmael, on the field, is different animal.”
Ibraheem highlights a strong defense that returns starters all over. That includes Trevion Dawson, who caused havoc for quarterbacks last season off the edge with 11 sacks to earn first team all-district. In addition, Kmball has Jai Mitchell, who brings leadership to the defense after contributing 68 tackles and one interception last season.
Winning a state title may be the end goal, but Cofer is not overlooking any opponent.
“It starts with us,” he said. “It’s us versus us. If we take care of the little things the big things will take care of itself. We know we have a big rivalry game to kick off the season, but we can’t focus on that; our focus is only on us if we want to accomplish the goals we have set for ourselves.”
That focus has only heightened this eventful offseason.
“We are not using this time to makes any excuses we are focusing on getting better,” Cofer said. “This mindset is not only something the coaching staff has but this belief has trickled down to the players. “I have players that have took it upon themselves to remain committed and focused by working out on their own at home or with trainers by the guidelines of the team to make sure we’re prepared for the season.
“Before we step on the field, we want to make sure the players and the coaches are safe. COVID-19 is something we see as bump in the road that we as a team will have to adjust and get the job done.”
It also makes the job less stressful when players take that type of ownership. Offensively, that starts with SMU running back commit Brandon Epton, who rushed for 766 yards and 16 TDs in 2019.
“Brandon is a special kid with God giving abilities,” Cofer said. “Brandon has the potential to be one of the best backs to ever play at Kimball. He has the vision, balance, speed and explosiveness that will make him succeed at the next level.”
To have a great running back is one thing, but this Kimball offense goes far as the big guys up front take them. And that starts with center Desmond Tate.
“Our offensive line sets the tone,” Cofer said.
They’ll protect dual-threat QB Keith Hargraves, who passed for 1,418 yards and 15 touchdowns a season ago. This year could be a better with big target Kyron Henderson emerging as a prospect at the wideout position.
The future is definitely looking bright for the Knights, who are always thankful for the support of its administration and the community.
“The mantra and the attitude of this team is exciting; to grow with this group of kids makes it that much more exciting,” Cofer said.
So if you’re wondering what’s next for the Knights, Cofer has a message for you.
“Just watch us,” he said.
The Knights will put their ambitious goals to the test as they kick off their season against South Dallas rival Dallas Carter on September 25th.
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