A player never truly knows when his opportunity will arise, but when Lynden’s Noah King was needed last season, he made sure to make the most of his chance.
“Noah King and Connor Shine, I just got done watching last year’s jamboree tape and they were playing JV,” Lions coach Curt Kramme explained. “By the end of the season they were varsity starters. They both filled in admirably. We won several playoff games with them out there.”
The Lions entered 2014 with one of the top safety tandems in the Northwest Conference with Lucas Peterson and Trey Shagren, but after both went down with injuries King began displaying what he could offer Lynden’s defense.
Ever since, he’s established himself as an up-and-comer and this year will get the chance to try and lead a defense hoping to improve on last season.
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“It was very rewarding after being on the scout team my first two-and-a-half years and on special teams,” King said. “It was very rewarding. It was just very awesome to be out there, get the adrenaline flowing and be out there with my teammates.”
King’s presence helped the Lions roll to a Class 2A State Playoff title game berth, and that experience he gained should be invaluable for a secondary that could become one of the league’s best this fall.
Lynden returns Jordan Wittenberg at cornerback and safety Drew Krause, who was slated to start last year before suffering an injury, will flank King.
For them to be successful, King said, communication will be key. Thankfully, they’ve already created some strong chemistry.
“We are constantly talking,” King said. “Me and Jordan are on the same side. Me and him are best buds, and we all got super good camaraderie and got a connection over there. We just know where we are going to be.”
Beyond playing DB, King will be relied on to step up in the passing game. He caught five passes for 53 yards a year ago, but mostly served as a decoy. After the Lions graduated Scooter Hastings and Jonathan Whetnall, King’s services will be needed on offense.
Like last year, when given the opportunity, he’s hoping to capitalize.
“This year I’m looking to catch more balls, and it should be pretty exciting,” King said.
Top defensive backs to watch
1. Taylor Rapp, Sehome
Rapp does it all for Sehome. He makes plays in the pass game and has shown his ability to come up and stuff the run. His speed and athletic ability allows him to roam all over the field.
2. Ben Peterson, Squalicum
Peterson has developed into a big-time play-maker for the Storm. He had great hands, speed and has finished among the team’s top tacklers each of his first two varsity seasons.
3. Jordan Wittenberg, Lynden
Wittenberg is a great cover corner, a strong tackler and many of his the traits that allow him to excel at wide receiver translate to the cornerback position.