YAKIMA, Wash. -- As one of the few seniors on the Davis football team this fall, Kristian Sanders knows he will be called on to contribute in many ways. And that’s good because he possesses the versatility to do many things.
“We’ll be very junior- and sophomore-dominant with not even a half dozen seniors, so it’s nice to have a senior like Kristian,” said coach Rick Clark. “He’s done well in the summer, put in the work and will help us in lots of ways. Offense, defense, special teams — he does it all and is very athletic.”
Sanders, a three-sport athlete who also plays basketball and baseball, is expected to start at defensive back and wide receiver, contribute on kick coverage teams and serve as the kick holder, a sure-hands job he held all season as a junior. Even though the Pirates struggled through a winless campaign last season they averaged nearly three touchdowns a game, so Sanders had plenty opportunity to hone the twitchy craft.
“I try not to think too much, just slip into baseball mode and trust my hands,” he said. “If you think too much that can lead to a bad hold. I treat it like a multitasking job.”
The multitasking involves more than his own business. Sanders also tried to lessen the pressure on sophomore kicker Jesse Nickens whenever possible. “At first he was very nervous and I tried to ease things up a little by making jokes. Each time I try to come up with something different. He’s an easy-going guy so he laughs at just about anything.”
Offensively, Davis should be a scoring threat even with the graduation of playmaker Carlos Vijarro and a midseason transition at quarterback. Nikhil Lizotte is expected to hold down the quarterback job until Elias Moctezuma is cleared to play following injuries sustained last fall, and if and when that change comes Lizotte will solidify a solid receiving corps.
Moctezuma, who threw for a CBBN-best 1,823 yards and 15 touchdowns as a sophomore, will have a variety of targets that includes all-leaguer Eric Briscoe, Ketner Kupp, Max Jones, Lizotte and Sanders. Balancing that will be the return of all-league running back and linebacker Jackson Lewis.
“Wide receiver is probably my favorite position,” said Sanders. “We’ve got a lot of guys and a lot of speed.”
Sanders, who played freshman football at Selah before moving to Davis, will likely pair with Jones as safeties in the defensive backfield.
“It does get tiring, but I enjoy being on the field a lot,” he said. “I’d like to think I’m in pretty good condition and can handle it. Plus, as one of the few seniors, I want to be a leader and do everything I can to help us.”