Despite playing in a more challenging district in 2022, Covenant rolled through the regular season with a program-record eight wins.
Then came the TAPPS Division III playoffs and a surprising first-round exit against Arlington Grace Prep that provided a sour ending.
“That was not what we were expecting,” said Covenant fifth-year head coach Jacob Zinn. “We’re at the point where we expect to win every game. When you get bounced in the first round, that’s not good enough.”
That defeat fueled the offseason mindset of a team that lost significant firepower to graduation but also returns a handful of key starters. Hard-hitting linebacker James Predtechenskis and defensive lineman Dobson Beaird each hold multiple school records. They will also likely see significant snaps on offense.
“It’s nice having those two catalysts on the defensive side coming back,” Zinn said. “We’ve got a ton of experience. We’ve got a really good core group of guys coming back, especially up front.”
The Knights have struggled in the past with size in the trenches, but that could change this season with four returnees along the offensive line.
Other third-year starters returning include Bennett Sands, who rushed for 11 touchdowns a year ago, and speedster Benjamin Golik. Improved depth at the skill positions should help new quarterback Brady Shahan, the team’s top receiver last season.
“We’re excited about what our offense will look like around him,” Zinn said. “Our offense will probably look a lot different. We’ll probably be more traditional, but I’m excited about that.”