The last few seasons have seen Buckingham County near the top of the James River District but with talent-laden teams, the Knights were never able to advance past the second round of playoffs.
Craig Gill's team will try again this season with a new cast of characters after first-team All-District quarterback Tarian Ayers graduated and took his talents to VMI.
Stepping into the quarterback void will be senior Cam Johnson, who is sliding over from wide receiver, where he was a first-team All-District selection in 2011.
"You can't replace a Tarian Ayers," Gill said. "But Cam's taken the role on, he's probably a team leader, our captain."
Johnson admits there's been a learning curve at the new position but offseason camps have made him a bit more comfortable in his new role.
"I'm feeling pretty comfortable. A couple weeks ago I was a little shaky here and there on my mechanics but I've been just working hard and staying on the field and just trying to master the little things in order to become as best as possible," Johnson said.
The good news for Johnson and Knights' fans is he won't have to do it all by himself.
Buckingham returns one of the best one-two punches in the area in backfield mates Kenneth Johnson and Kyree Koonce.
Each back rushed for over 800 yards last season, with the junior Johnson earning first-team All-District honors and sophomore Koonce named first-team kick returner.
"It's just a comfort level knowing that I have those two guys back there with me. Kyree and Peanut, they have that experience now, they know what it takes to be a winner and their drive this year has just been great," Cam Johnson explained.
"We're trying to prove to a lot of people," Kenneth Johnson said. "A lot of people think we lost Tarian that we'd fall down now but that isn't the fact. We're stepping back up."
If the Knights are to have success again in 2012 and take another crack at getting past the second round in postseason play, they'll first have to navigate through a tough District schedule.
But their new signal-caller feels his team has what it takes to make it through.
"We just feel like in order to get over the hump we have to work that much harder and get our guys up front stronger, our receivers stronger, our backfield and well as getting mentally right," Cam Johnson said.
"A lot of people not picking us high, which I like.," Gill explained. "I hope we can sneak up on some people. And I hope by the time we get to the District these young men that are filling in these holes that we graduated will have enough experience that we can get on a roll and make a run right there at the end."
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