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Isaiah Knowles a four-year stalwart for Seffner Christian

The senior quarterback, and Navy commit, has helped dictate the Crusaders’ fortunes, especially their playoff ones.
Seffner Christian quarterback Isaiah Knowles has thrown for 1,474 yards and 17 touchdowns despite missing four games this season. [Times]
Seffner Christian quarterback Isaiah Knowles has thrown for 1,474 yards and 17 touchdowns despite missing four games this season. [Times]
Published Nov. 14
Updated Nov. 14

Isaiah Knowles has been a quarterback at Seffner Christian since he was in sixth grade. That’s when he ran the middle school offense, and that’s when coach Travis Puleo saw his future.

“You could tell right then that he was a special player,” Puleo said. “He’s the best athlete I’ve ever coached, and I’ve been doing it for 20 years.”

Knowles took his first varsity snap in the spring game prior to his eighth-grade year. By his freshman year he was the full-time starter. He has never thrown for fewer than 1,300 yards since. For the past two seasons, he has led the Crusaders to the playoffs.

This season, despite missing the first four games due to injury, he has passed for 1,474 yards and 17 touchdowns. Seffner Christian went 1-3 without him, 7-0 with him.

Related: MORE PREP FOOTBALL: Secret to Lakewood High’s success? A lights-out defense

“It was rough being on the sideline but I was that guy trying to help with the plays, trying to help any way I could,” Knowles said. “Once I got back I still had confidence. Coach Puleo called some screens early on (against Tampa Bay Christian) and I got right into the groove. Once we had the pass game working again then it opened up things for our running back, Justin Stubbs.”

Knowles will be under center when the Crusaders take on Northside Christian on Friday night. Every game could be his last at the school. But it won’t be his last football game ever.

He is committed to Navy, where he will play quarterback and study general science.

“My experience was there were a lot of coaches who would recruit you and then stop talking to you,” Knowles said about choosing Navy. “A lot of them thought I was too short (6 feet) and they wanted to get me to play safety. But Navy recruited me as a quarterback.

“I want to play there for four years and if the NFL works out, then fine. But if not I’ve got my four year degree from a great university and I can go on and do other things.”

High school football region semifinals

All games 7:30 p.m. Friday.

Class 2A, Region 3

• No. 3 Seffner Christian at No. 2 Northside Christian

• No. 4 Admiral Farragut at No. 1 Cambridge Christian

Class 3A, Region 3

• No. 5 Clearwater Central Catholic at No. 1 Berkeley Prep

Class 4A, Region 3

• No. 4 Clewiston at No. 1 Lakewood

• No. 3 Tampa Catholic at No. 2 Delray Beach American Heritage

Class 5A, Region 3

• No. 8 Chamberlain at No. 4 Jesuit

Class 5A, Region 2

• No. 4 Nature Coast at No. 1 Orlando Jones

Class 6A, Region 2

• No. 5 Clearwater at No. 1 Gaither

• No. 3 Lake Minneola at No. 2 Largo

Class 7A, Region 3

• No. 3 Manatee at No. 2 Mitchell

Class 7A, Region 2

• No. 5 Bloomingdale at No. 1 Armwood

• No. 6 Tampa Bay Tech at No. 2 Lakeland

Class 8A, Region 2

• No. 4 Steinbrenner at No. 1 Sarasota Riverview


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  3. River Ridge's Travis Hawks is one of six Royal Knights playing in the all-star game. [LUIS SANTANA  |  Times]
    The fifth annual game will be held at Sunlake High.
  4. Jesuit 106-pounder Kai Owen acknowledges Tiger fans moments after winning the Class 2A state title with a 2-1 decision last season. [SCOTT PURKS  |  Special to the Times]
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  5. Keswick Christian's Yasmin Baroni tries to rip the ball from the hands of Northeast's Jada Ballard on Thursday. [LUIS SANTANA  |  Times]
    A second-quarter run is all the Crusaders need to stay out in front of their rival.
  6. Tampa Bay Tech sophomores Amiya Evans, second from right, and Janiah Barker, right, could help lead the Titans to one of the highest national rankings of any Tampa Bay area team in history in the 2019-20 season [SCOTT PURKS  |  Special to the Times]
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  7. Senior football players in Pinellas County took to the gridiron for their final prep game Wednesday night. [DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times]
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  8. In this file photo, Lakewood High School defensive lineman Tre'von Riggins (98) takes a moment during a spring football practice last April. [DIRK SHADD  |  Times]
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  9. A little more than a month into the season, Nature Coast Tech sophomore Kennedy Weissman leads the state in scoring with 41 goals and 92 points, almost double the totals of the next closest player. [SCOTT PURKS  |  Special to the Times]
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  10. Largo's Julia Violante (6), center, gets a hug from teammate Sarai Faulkner (17), right, while joining Asti Luff (23), left, and McKenzie Emery (14) at midfield moments after scoring her second goal of the night (2-0) against St. Petersburg on Monday. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  TImes]
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