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Lapel Claims Second Straight WRAC Title; Biehl Has 300 All-Purpose Yards But Panthers Fall to Bulldogs 21-12
October 10, 2007 - Knightstown had every opportunity to win Friday night’s football game against the Lapel Bulldogs, and didn’t get the job done.
But what the Panthers did accomplish is prove that their offense, decimated by injuries, is still capable of moving the ball against anyone on their schedule.
The Panthers dominated the game statistically, nearly doubling the Bulldogs in rushing yardage and first downs. But they lost the game 21-12 last Friday night. The win gave Lapel the White River Athletic Conference title outright, but should have shown the young Panther team that it’s capable of doing a lot more with the ball on offense. Lapel was the biggest and quickest defensive team the Panthers have faced this season.
Knightstown held the Bulldogs to 17 points under their season offensive average, and except for a couple of big mistakes, could easily have stolen a win from the two-time defending WRAC champions. Despite allowing 21 points, the Panther defense played well enough to win this game. Lapel brought an electrifying offense to the Panther Stadium, and Knightstown gave up a couple of quick scores in the first quarter. But for the rest of the game, the Panthers clearly outplayed Lapel.
A couple of crucial mistakes by the Panthers and a very questionable no-call by the officials took points off the board for Knightstown and gave seven to the Bulldogs.
After Lapel had bolted to a 14-0 first quarter lead, Knightstown responded to their coach’s challenge. “Once again men, this game is going to change if you make it change,” Coach Bob Prescott told his team after Lapel’s second score in less than four minutes. “How are you going to respond to this challenge?” The Bulldogs had accumulated 130 yards of offense on their first two possessions, but would finish the game with just 220 more yards on the last seven times they went on offense. That total included 49 yards on one play and 42 on another.
The Panthers did respond, driving the ball 45 yards on the next series before falling short on downs. But the message had been sent.
On Lapel’s next possession, Ethan Pearson came up with a clutch interception. Back on offense, Knightstown went on another nice drive, highlighted by a couple of 11-yard runs by freshman Lane Fields. An 18-yard pass by quarterback Brice Biehl to tight end Brett Miller put the Panthers in business inside the Bulldog red zone.
But on a fourth down conversion attempt, Knightstown fumbled the ball and killed the drive.
Still very much in the game, the Panthers forced a couple more Bulldog punts before putting together another impressive drive. Starting from their own 34 with 3:14 to play in the half, and still trailing 14-0, Biehl orchestrated a nine-play drive that ended inside the Lapel five-yard line.
A 12-yard run by Fields got things started, and a Panther holding penalty was erased on a nice 25-yard passing play from Biehl to sophomore Levi Blair. Biehl then hit Travis Titus for 12 more yards, and Titus got out of bounds at the 23 to stop the clock with 35 seconds left in the half.
On the next play Biehl went back to Titus again, and he made a good catch and nice juke to get inside the Bulldog five. But the ball was stripped as Titus was being pulled down, and Lapel recovered to kill the drive.
Twice in the first half the Panthers got inside the Lapel red zone and failed to score, but still trailed just 14-0.
Knightstown shut down the Bulldogs in the third quarter. They put together one mini-drive, but Zach Lake slammed the door shut with a fumble recovery at the Panther 36.
What would have normally been the decisive blow occurred on the first play of the fourth quarter, when the Bulldogs scored a controversial touchdown.
Aaron Forshey’s tackle of a Lapel ball carrier behind the line of scrimmage forced a third-and-six, and the Bulldogs went to the air. Wide receiver Brooks Busch went deep down the right sideline, and seconds before the ball arrived pushed away the Panther defender. No flag was thrown and Busch caught the ball untouched to score on the 40-yard passing play. That put the Panthers in a 21-0 hole and appeared to be the decisive blow in the game.
But as they have done the last two weeks, the Panthers had a lot more fight left in them, and scored twice in the final quarter to make a game out of it.
Pearson got things started by returning a deep Bulldog kickoff from the nine to the 27-yard line. With Trey McColley still banged up (but close to returning), and Danny Ortman nursing a serious shoulder injury, Fields continued to carry the rushing attack burden. He didn’t disappoint on this night. Fields picked up three yards, and then Biehl made a tremendous fake and bolted around the corner for 20 yards to the 50. Biehl then mixed it up by hitting Morris with a pass for nine more yards to the Bulldog 41.
Then Fields took it from there, thanks to massive hole opened up by the Panther offensive line. Fields took the handoff and headed right. He then made a quick cut back left, shook a tackler, and rocketed 41 yards for paydirt. The Panthers missed the extra point, but with 10:04 left in the game, Knightstown was on the board at 21-6 and the momentum had clearly shifted.
On Lapel’s next possession, Justin Sanders burst through the Bulldog line and nailed the ball carrier for a seven-yard loss. But Bulldog quarterback Ryan Scott went back to Busch for a 42-yard gain on a perfectly executed play that brought the ball all the way to the Knightstown 27 with eight minutes to play. Once again, that play looked like it was the back-breaker for the Panthers.
Once again, the team showed it still had plenty of fight left. On third-and-three from the 21, the Bulldogs went to the air again and Kelton Lane’s hit caused the receiver to drop the ball. Lapel’s next run was stuffed short at the 18 yard line, turning the ball over to Knightstown.
Just like the two previous games against Shenandoah and Tri High, Knightstown put together a very impressive fourth quarter drive when the pressure was at its greatest point. The team went 83 yards in 10 plays, using up just 3:32 of game clock.
The drive included a 29-yard run by Biehl that ignited the huge Panther crowd. He followed that two plays later with a 21-yard jaunt to the Bulldog 18-yard line.
Biehl then again went to the air to Morris for 12 yards, and the senior tight end slipped and fell at the six-yard line. Keeping in tune with their flare for the dramatics this season, the Panthers used all four downs before punching the ball into the end zone on a 4th-and-goal from the one. Biehl went behind Kyle Freeman and got hit paydirt on a great second effort. With 4:07 to play in the game, Knightstown had somehow cut the Bulldog lead to 21-12.
But the attempt for the two-point conversion failed, sealing the team’s fate.
Biehl had his best game of the season for the Panthers, passing for 128 yards and running for 112 and a touchdown. Fields also scored a touchdown and finished with 97 yards on 19 carries.
Now 4-4 on the year, the Panthers will close their regular season schedule at Tri-Central High School Friday night. The Trojans are 0-8 this season, but have been playing very well lately. In their last two games, Tri-Central has fallen to Shenandoah 17-14 in overtime, and lost to Wes-Del 34-27.
Lapel 14 0 0 7 - 21
Knightstown 0 0 0 12 - 12
LP – Josh Owen 41-yard touchdown run (11:04 first quarter), Brooks Busch kick, 0-7.
LP – Trent Crandall four-yard touchdown run (7:08 first quarter), Busch kick, 0-14.
LP – Busch 40-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Scott (11:52 fourth quarter), Busch kick, 0-21.
K – Lane Fields 41-yard touchdown run (10:04 fourth quarter), kick failed, 6-21.
K – Brice Biehl one-yard touchdown run (run failed), 12-21.
First Downs = 16 (K), 9 (L) Rushing-yards = 42-258 (K), 39-132 (L)
Passing (comp-att-int) = 9-15-0 (K), 9-17-1 (L) Passing yards = 128 (K), 222 (L)
Total yards = 386 (K), 354 (L)
Punts = 4 (K), 6 (L)
Penalties-yards = 3-20 (K), 8-65 (L) Fumbles-lost = 4-1 (K), 3-1 (L)
Time of Possession = 22:44 (K), 25:16 (L)
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