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 If Wes-Del Game Was Any Indication, The Light Has Come On

It might very well have been the finest moment the football team will see this season.

Getting possession of the ball on their own 21-yard line, they marched down the field in the closing minutes on an 11-play drive. As the clock ticked to 0:00, quarterback Austin Prather threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Cameron Grimes. Their fans went absolutely nuts.

Wes-Del had scored a last-second touchdown. They celebrated on the field.

They lost 46-6.

Nevermind the fact that the entire drive came against Knightstown’s junior varsity team. Coach Bob Prescott had called off the dogs and emptied his bench late in the third quarter, after Knightstown had rolled to a 46-0 lead. At that point Knightstown had been assessed more penalty yards than the Warriors had in total offense.

It was a lopsided game to say the least. At halftime Knightstown had a 33-0 lead and had already amassed 312 yards of offense. There was also a 66-yard touchdown run by Lane Fields that came back on a penalty. It was brought back to the Panther 18-yard line, so, in essence, it was an 82-yard penalty.

At the break the Warriors had minus-three yards rushing and 92 yards passing. Of those, 72 came on two plays. The other 26 plays for Wes-Del resulted in 17 yards of offense.

It was an old-fashioned butt-whipping administered by a team that had lost two games that they should have won. The Panthers did what they needed to do, and that to was pull together as a team and simply get the job done.

I don’t think they are finished yet. Consider the following:

* Knightstown was coming off a 21-8 loss at Centerville in which they led 18-0, and followed that with a 6-0 home loss to Hagerstown. Since then, Centerville beat Tri 40-14 and Shenandoah 27-7.

* Hagerstown responded to its narrow win over the Panthers by shell-shocking Winchester Friday night, 53-12. The Tigers scored six against Knightstown and 53 against Winchester, who had entered the game allowing 11 points per game? Hagerstown racked up nearly 500 yards of offense against the Falcons despite turning the ball over four times.

Both of those Panther losses were obviously to quality teams.

It’s a brand new season and it started Friday night on the defensive side of the ball. When Brice Biehl intercepted a pass and returned it 35 yards to the Warrior six-yard line, I figured this one was in the bag. One play later Biehl scored and it was 7-0.

Knightstown would end up scoring four touchdowns by running just eight plays, hitting paydirt after just one or two plays each time. You want to talk about shell-shocked? The Warriors were shooting bows and arrows at tanks and mortars. With 10:53 left in the second quarter it was already 27-0.

It would have been a lot worse, but in the first half Panthers also fumbled the ball away twice and missed a field goal try after driving to the two-yard line in the final seconds of the half. Prescott could easily have punched the ball in, but instead used the opportunity to practice a field goal. The kick just missed.

On the other scoring drive the Panthers actually moved the ball 114 yards because of 40 yards worth of penalties. Still, they eventually punched the ball in.

Had it not been for penalties, Knightstown would have exceeded 400 yards of offense in the first half alone. That dominance came from a team that had struggled mightily on that side of the ball, and then had a coming out performance last weekend.

They saw the light.

Because of that, the football season suddenly becomes more interesting than I ever thought these undersized, overachievers could make it.

Up next is 2-1 North Decatur, who has beaten Edinburg (0-3) 13-12 and Union County (0-3) 26-20. Friday they lost to Triton Central 59-6.

The Chargers are always a tough opponent for Knightstown, but considering the game results so far this season, that’s a road win the Panthers are capable of getting if they continue to play the way they have been.

If they do leave North Decatur with a victory, the rest of the season will be very interesting. The next three games feature Eastern Hancock, Shenandoah, and Tri High. All three of those are winnable games if they continue playing the way the have been.

They may be undersized, but so far this year’s Panthers are making up for it by hitting people really hard, utilizing some surprising quickness, and gang-tackling on nearly every play.

If you haven’t seen these kids play, you are cheating yourself.

 

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