CHARLESTOWN —The Charlestown coaches want to get the ball in the hands of senior standout Marion Lukes as much as possible.
And, who can blame them.
A year ago, Lukes led the state with nearly 260 rushing yards per game. The speedster blitzed his way to 2,599 yards in only 10 contests.
To get him even more touches, Pirates coach Jason Hawkins is moving Lukes back to quarterback, a position he played for a few games during his sophomore season
“He’s been back there before and he’s going to be more of a runner," Hawkins said. “We’re going to use him in a lot of different situations.”
Lukes, an Eastern Kentucky University commit, chose the Colonels over Purdue, Louisville and Cincinnati.
“I chose EKU because it was more of a family vibe,” he said. “It’s a small community and I’ve always been around small communities since I was a little kid. That small-community vibe seems a little bit more natural for me.”
It’s been a busy summer for Lukes, who has attended camps at Purdue, Indiana and Louisville.
In the process, he’s changed his diet and dedication to the weight room. Now he’s bigger and faster, going from 156 pounds to 186.
“I feel a lot stronger,” the 5-foot-9 Lukes said. “I feel like it’s a lot harder to take me down than it was last year.”
At Indiana University, he recorded his fastest 40-yard dash time — 4.37 seconds.
By comparison, only eight players ran faster times at last year’s NFL Combine.
Hawkins approached Lukes earlier this summer and asked him to play quarterback again because it would be best for the team.
“We both sat down and talked about it together," Hawkins said. "He understood where I was coming from. He wants the team to be the best. At the end of the day, I think the team will be better with Marion at quarterback. His attitude is great.”
“I said, 'Absolutely' to that, let's go!” Lukes said. “Team always comes first, compared to individual accomplishments.”
Some writers around Indiana have mentioned Lukes as a Mr. Football candidate.
“That would be awesome, if it happens, but it's not my main focus," Lukes said. “My main focus is Game One [against Silver Creek]. I went to Silver Creek, so I have a little rivalry with them. I’m focused on that.”
Lukes admitted he has some personal goals, including 3,000 yards rushing.
For Lukes, he has plenty of help in the other skilled positions, including his brother, Devin, a sophomore at slot receiver; Addison Logsdon, a returning running back who ran for 599 yards a year ago; Avery Duncan, a wide receiver; Braiden Murphy, who is moving from quarterback to wide receiver and Bo Braunecker, wide receiver.
The new faces appear on the offensive line, where Brody Wagers is the only returning starter.
“We believe [the offensive line] is going to be a good group,” Hawkins said. “They’ve come a long way in the summer.”
On the defense, the two leading tacklers are back in Braunecker (90 tackles) and Deke Brown (111 tackles), a couple of solid linebackers.
Braunecker said he has added 15 pounds of muscle during the offseason.
“I was in the weight room every day,” he said. “I think our defensive chemistry is really good this year. We really like to fly to the ball. We have young kids [up front], but I think they’ll do just fine.”
On defense, Devin Lukes will be moved to outside linebacker.
“We feel like he’s going to be a really good football player,” Hawkins said.
Marion Lukes, meanwhile, will be asked to play some in the secondary, depending on need, Hawkins said.
Head coach: Jason Hawkins (87-34 in 12th season), 93-47 in 14th year overall
Aug. 23 at Silver Creek* 7 p.m.
Aug. 30 Brownstown Central* 7 p.m.
Sept. 6 Clarksville* 7 p.m.
Sept. 13 at North Harrison* 7 p.m.
Sept. 20 Providence 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 27 Scottsburg* 7 p.m.
Oct. 4 at Corydon Central* 7 p.m.
Oct. 11 Salem* 7 p.m.
Oct. 18 Eastern* 7 p.m.
*Mid-Southern Conference game
2018 RESULTS (7-3)
Aug. 17 Silver Creek W, 32-14
Aug. 24 at Brownstown L, 13-50
Aug. 31 at Clarksville W, 41-12
Sept. 7 North Harrison W, 34-22
Sept. 14 at Providence L, 14-28
Sept. 21 at Scottsburg W, 40-21
Sept. 28 at Corydon W, 41-7
Oct. 5 at Salem W, 37-14
Oct. 12 Eastern W, 52-0
Oct. 19 at Salem L, 20-27*
LAST 20 YEARS
Coach: Jason Hawkins
Coach: Darin Ward
Coach: Jason Hawkins
Coach: Jeff Purichia
Coach: John Mastin
Sectional championships (5): 1989, 1993, 1996, 2012, 2014.
Regional championships: (1): 1989
Semistate championships (0): none.
State championships (0): none.