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Coach’s Help Needed to Provide Variety of Knightstown Sports Coverage; Panthers, Royals Play Another One For the Ages
The Banner is receiving telephone calls and emails. The answering machine has messages from readers, parents and Panther fans. People are approaching me on the street, at stores and at sporting events.
People want to know why certain results of Panther athletics are not being published in the newspaper. Folks, all I can say is, I’m giving it my best shot. Thirty years ago I was filling the pages of the Banner with local sports and I have to say it was easier back then. Those were the days when the coaches of those teams helped out a little more.
On any given night there could be a half-dozen or more sporting events ongoing at KHS and KIS, and another half dozen at Eastern Hancock. It’s not possible to be everywhere, and I have made it a point to make an appearance at every sport currently in season, at every level.
I have called the athletic director at KHS and asked for support. I have personally talked with many coaches and requested they turn in their results so the student athletes can receive the recognition for their accomplishments.
Sometimes it happens, sometimes in doesn’t. However, it does appear to be getting better.
If you see the results of high school, junior high or elementary level volleyball, cross country, tennis, golf, football or soccer on the pages of the Banner it was because I either attended the event or a coach provided the information. Obviously, with so many sports on so many levels currently in season, the cooperation of the coaches is imperative.
The owner of this newspaper has opened up his pages and provided as much room as I need to publish those sports results. If the statistics and results are provided, I’ll write the stories and the kids will get the credit they deserve. All I ask for is the cooperation of coaches. The pages of this newspaper directly reflect the amount of cooperation we receive. So if you don’t see it, it’s not because we don’t want to publish it.
Panthers Brought Game
Out-manned, out-gunned and with his back against the wall due to injuries and inexperienced players, Knightstown Panther head coach Bob Prescott had to put together a near-perfect game plan if his team were to beat Eastern Hancock last weekend.
The game plan was there. The near-perfect execution wasn’t.
What resulted was a drama-filled typical Panther-Royal battle that could easily have gone either way if not for a particular turnover or timely penalty.
This was a game that Eastern Hancock knew it should win and they executed well enough to get the job done. But they were surprised by how much game the Panthers brought to the field.
“They definitely didn’t look that good on tape,” Royal Coach Kyle Johnson said after the emotional victory.
The Little Big Play
There were plenty of big-time plays in the Panther-Royal game Friday night, but one play that would have huge implications went unnoticed by many people. At the midway point of the second quarter Eastern Hancock held on to a 7-0 lead when the Panthers were driving. On first down from the Royal 22, Trey McColley took a handoff from Joe Haase and followed a block into a hole big enough to drive a small car through. There was nothing in front of McColley but the end zone.
Then out of nowhere came the hand of Chris Jilg, who got just enough of McColley’s foot to trip up the big fullback, dropping him at the 19. The play saved a touchdown for sure. Then on the very next play the Panthers fumbled and Andrew Laska recovered to end the drive and preserve the lead.
Big Bruising Backs
With Lapel’s T.J. Cripe out for the season the two best backs in the White River Athletic Conference were on display on the Panther field Friday night and neither disappointed. Royal Brett Bragdon made countless tacklers miss on his way to 196 yards on 26 carries. Panther Trey McColley ran for 192 yards on 29 carries. That dynamic duo combined for nearly 400 rushing yards against defenses that were specifically geared to stop them. They also scored every touchdown in the game, usually getting the ball at the exact time the defense thought they were going to get it.
The bad news is Knightstown’s youth and inexperience continued to haunt the team as they turned the ball over three more times against Eastern Hancock. The team had four turnovers in their loss to North Decatur the week before.
But just as troublesome as the turnovers were, the team committed penalties at critical moments that either took them out of field position or gave the Royals a desperately-needed first down.
The good news is young and inexperienced teams playing under a new system tend to do those things. By the time the Panthers have played a full nine-game schedule they won’t be so young and inexperienced. After watching those crucial mistakes occur repeatedly and then leaving the field with just a 15-12 win, how interested do you really think the Royals are in seeing the Panthers again in the sectional?
More Useless Sports Trivia
Two weeks ago North Decatur’s talented running back Kevin Wallpe burned Knightstown’s football team with his running, scoring four touchdowns and showing off some great moves in the process.
By halftime of that game the score was 27-0 and I was talking to a couple of former Panther players (over the age of 40) who couldn’t help but wonder why the name Wallpe sounded so familiar. I said I’d research the question and come up with the answer.
It turns out that Wallpe is not just an unusual name some people remember. It’s also a name familiar with North Decatur football. Kevin Wallpe burned Knightstown for four touchdowns two weeks ago. Exactly 30 years ago to the week his father, Eugene Wallpe, had touchdown runs of 43 and 65 yards and North Decatur beat the Panthers for the first time ever, 18-6.
Good memory, old guys.
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