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 Reserves Lose Heartbreaker at Shenandoah

Sept. 26, 2007 - Knightstown’s junior varsity football team had every opportunity to steal a road win Monday night at Shenandoah. But it wasn’t to be as the JV Panthers suffered their first loss of the season in overtime, 22-14.

The Panthers had the ball deep in Raider territory on all five fourth quarter possessions and came away with just one touchdown. Twice the Panthers had the ball inside the Shenandoah Red Zone late in the fourth quarter and were unable to convert each time.

Twice in the fourth quarter and once again in the overtime, the Panthers threw a pass into the end zone that came up empty.

After tying the game on a nifty 39-yard touchdown pass from freshman Nolan Hall to fellow frosh Ronnie Lawrence, the Panthers had completed an improbable comeback against the Raiders. Improbable, because Shenandoah had stacked the deck in the junior varsity game with juniors and a couple of seniors. Raider senior Brandon Lee did the majority of the damage against Knightstown in this game. He rushed for over 100 yards, scored a touchdown, intercepted a pass and had several tackles for loss.

But the Panthers had every opportunity to pull the game out in regulation, but couldn’t muster the big play. After Hall’s perfect long pass to Lawrence tied the game with 2:49 to play, the Panthers went on defense and came up with a huge turnover.

Colin Kennedy and Drew Martin set things up by knocking down consecutive passes, forcing a punting situation. After taking over at their own 28, Knightstown immediately went to work.

Two big plays followed when Hall connected with Kennedy twice, and then the Raiders knocked down Panther Anthony Forshey to move the ball to the 17-yard line. But two plays later the Raiders intercepted a pass in the end zone to kill the drive with just 21 seconds to play.

Believe it or not, the Panthers still weren’t done. The Raiders tried a couple of quick passes that were incomplete, forcing a third-and-10 with 12 seconds to play. Shenandoah opted to throw again, and Cory Cox came up with a huge interception at the 33-yard line with just six seconds showing on the clock.

The Panthers immediately went to the air again and Hall connected one more time with Lawrence at the five yard line with two seconds on the clock. One more pass into the end zone was batted down by a Raider, forcing the overtime.

The Raiders scored on their possession and the Panthers weren’t able to answer, fumbling the ball and losing seven yards on a crucial third down play.

Shenandoah took an 8-0 lead with 8:12 to play in the first half. Knightstown struggled early, fumbling the ball four times and losing two of those. The Panthers would have two more turnovers in the second half, although their defense got the ball back for them several times.

The Panthers responded to that Raider score with a touchdown of their own. That score was actually set up by a nice pooch punt from Jake Tompkins. His boot put the Raiders back at their eight-yard line. Tompkins then provided the big defensive stop by nailing the quarterback for a loss and forcing a Shenandoah punt.

Lawrence then got a 20-yard return and set up the Panthers at the Raider 22. On fourth-and-seven, quarterback Drew Martin bolted around the left side and got great blocks from Lucas Hochstedler, Ben Angel and Lawrence to score from 19 yards out. Martin ran for the two-point conversion to knot up the game.

Panther offensive linemen Dusty Asberry, Ethan Paul, Kacey Johnson, Taylor Cox and Angel consistently opened up holes for the Knightstown offense. But the five Knightstown turnovers hurt the team more than the Raider defense did.

Hall, Kennedy and Cox all had interceptions in the game, and Wes Hammer recovered two fumbles for the Panthers.