Knights in purple armor looking to shine in the DEL

Talialaina Letoi

It’s back to business for the Shadow Hills Knights as the new football season quickly approaches. The team is excited to hit the field behind new head coach David Palmer, but leading the pack is nothing new for Palmer.

“I’ve got the kids I’ve always coached so we’re just you know, getting everything put back together and re-establishing what we do,” says Palmer.  “We’re taking the intensity that we have on our football defense in installing it to our offense.”

Taking a look back at his experience at Shadow Hills, Palmer is comfortable with being the head honcho at different levels. But he admits in his first stint leading Varsity, it is a different beast.

“Yeah, there’s a big difference. I’ve been the head coach for the freshmen, the head coach for JV — but becoming the Varsity head coach. That’s something you can’t study for,” he says. “You have to learn on the job so it’s different but you know. It’s not bad, it’s just something that you got to learn and it’s more duties than you had before.”

A bunch of familiar faces are returning the roster this year. And the offense is looking promising and ready to deliver.

Palmer says some quit in the off-season but now they’re back in action.

“Our offense looks really good. So we’re excited about that, we’ve also got some new kids that just came in and added some depth into our chart so we’re kind of excited about this year. But we’re just trying to stay under the radar and not get all caught up in the hype and everything.”

They already have a defense known around the Coachella Valley to match. One key player on that side of the ball, linebacker Jermiah Peffers.

“You know we’re relentless, we love hitting We love going out there going out there just ready to win stuff.”

He also says the key this season though will be communication.

“You know talking on the field and relaying stuff to each other —  just being able to communicate with each other is a big part of it.”

But a lot of guys are ready to work when they put those pads on. Xavier Rodriguez says, he didn’t get to play last year so it’s making the anticipation to hit the field this time around hit an all time high.

“I’m really looking forward this year, it’s my last year so let’s make it count,” says Rodriguez. “Everybody is working together, staying as one team and just working hard every day. I just want to be the best I can on and off the field, offense and defense — just do whatever I can to help my teammates.”

All that hard work behind Coach Palmer who knows how to lead these young men.

“We all love Coach Palmer. You know, he’s he knows how to goof around he knows when to be serious. We all love that,” says Peffers.

“He’s been here basically for all years of my high school career, so I’m really looking forward to it,” says Rodriguez. Everyone has a good relationship with him and he’s putting us in a position to be successful this year and I can’t thank him enough for it.”

Meanwhile, the anticipation to hit the gridiron under the lights every Friday night continues to grow across the roster. Peffers says it the energy.

“Everyone really loves Friday Night Lights, you know all the people come into the stands just the atmosphere. We’re just ready to go out there and play.”

In addition to keeping the intensity up day in and day out, Coach Palmer says the key this season is focus.

“You know the biggest thing is, you have your ups and downs but the key is players focused every day, every week, and staying in same routine,” says Coach Palmer. “If we can stay in the routine, do your job every day focus and then when Friday comes around, we apply the work and it’s just motionless.

The Knights go head to head with the Indio Rajahs Friday, August 18th to kick their season off. It is also Our Game of the Week! Be sure to tune in Fridays at 11pm.

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