NEPA Sports Nation

Knights have veteran defense

Pictured above: Donato Stepney

Scranton returns six of its top seven tacklers from a year ago, but the Knights appear to have work to do on the offensive side of the ball.

The Knights went 4-7 last season, but stumbled down the stretch losing four of their last five games, getting shut out twice and held to seven points in the two other two late losses.

Scranton graduated its quarterback and top four rushers and will look to rebuild its offense around the return of leading receiver Donato Stepney.

Stepney is also part of the much more promising outlook on defense.

Jacob Martinez, a first-team Lackawanna Football Conference Division 1 all-star defensive lineman choice by, was second on the Knights in total tackles while leading in sacks (5) and tackles for losses (14).

Tackle Javon James, safety Billy Maloney, linebacker Matt Shilling, cornerback Stepney and inside linebacker Carrera are the other returnees from the team’s list of top tacklers.

“We feel as a staff that we have had a very successful offseason and we look forward to seeing our players grow as a team,” Knight coach Steve Shumbres said.

Maloney may play less defense if he ends up at quarterback where he was in a preseason competition for the job with Brody Coyle.

While working in new ballcarriers and receivers, the Knights do have much of their blocking intact.

Fullback Noah Ardestani, tackles Packy Rissmiller and James and guard Adan Salazar return to the offense.

Dayshon Fulcher is the new center with Martinez, Carrera and Greg Clark available at guard.

Salazar, at tackle, and Billy Thompson, at safety, are other returning defensive starters.

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