Samson Johnson Nolensville

Hopes remain high for Nolensville as they bring back tons of experience in the new football season this fall.

The Nolensville Knights are ready to roll and make some noise in 5A after falling to the Page Patriots in the second round of the playoffs last season.

“I think the second game in the playoff just showed us how close we were and what we need to do in order to get over the hump,” said Nolensville head coach Paul Derrick. “That game in particular has pushed our team this offseason and given us an understanding of what it takes to get where we want to be.”

Nolensville will return all their playmakers as none of them were graduating seniors last year.

One of the key players returning is senior running back Samson Johnson. Johnson had 20-plus touchdowns his first two seasons of varsity football and tallied 13 rushing touchdowns last year.

Another playmaker returning is senior quarterback Coby Walton. Walton, in his first year as the starter last season, totaled over 3,000 passing yards, 30 passing touchdowns and only six interceptions.

“I want to be more consistent,” said Walton. “I want to help my team and try to run the ball more. A lot of teams knew what I could do passing, so I feel like adding some run game in there is important.”

The most versatile of the returning Knights is senior Nico Amato, who plays tight end, outside and inside linebacker, and long snapper, making him an impactful player on every single play.

The Knights will open the season against Battle Ground Academy on the road.

“You want a balance with your non-conference schedule,” said Derrick. “Our goal is to make the playoffs, so to get there you want to be prepared. Scheduling to find games is hard, but I do not want to have a bunch of cupcake games either. Going back-to-back semis the past two years, we may have scared some teams off. After last year, maybe we will have more teams knocking at our door.”