Paul Knox comes out of retirement to help Washington Prep reach City Section Division III final

Paul Knox, the football coach at Washington Prep, embraces his former Dorsey player, Johnathan Franklin, at an awards banquet. Knox turns 67 in December and keeps coaching.
Paul Knox, the Hall of Fame football coach at Dorsey and Washington Prep, came out of retirement to become offensive coordinator for the Generals this season. (Eric Sondheimer / Los Angeles Times)

The comeback of the football season belongs to Washington Prep. The school fired its head coach when the team was 0-4 and replaced him with basketball coach Jovante King, whose only football experience was coaching a youth team in Gardena. But King is very smart. His first phone call was to Hall of Fame coach Paul Knox, who previously coached at Dorsey and Washington Prep.

"Jovante called and I said yes," Knox said.

He'd show up to practices but did not coach during games because he was busy watching his son, Gus Alexander, play football at Sherman Oaks Notre Dame. When the Knights didn't make the playoffs, Knox was able to start attending games. And now Washington Prep (5-8) has reached the City Section Division III championship game and will play Jordan on Friday at Birmingham.

"Man, this has been crazy," said King, who has let the assistants do most of the coaching. King continues to do double duty attending football and basketball practices.

"I love what he has done for our football program during his time coaching and still giving his time today to help these young men," King said of Knox. "I thank him for helping because he could have told me no."

Sesame Mixon has been a dual threat with his arm and legs at quarterback and running back/linebacker Freeman Hopkins has made critical contributions.

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.