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 5th-Ranked Triton Central Sends Panthers Home

Oct. 24, 2007 - Barely over four minutes into the game last Friday night, the Triton Central Tigers had run just one play on offense, yet they led the Knightstown Panthers 20-7. The first round sectional game between the Tigers (9-0) and the Panthers (4-5) featured one team rising and another sinking. The result was inevitable. Triton Central scored 36 points in the first quarter and rolled to a 60-20 victory over Knightstown, improving their record to 10-0 on the season.

Knightstown bowed out of the state tournament with a three-game losing streak and a tough pill to swallow in a season that started out with such promise. The Panthers endured a see-saw year in which they opened with a win over Centerville (now 9-1), and finished with losses to Lapel, Tri-Central and the blowout defeat against the Tigers.

Tiger senior Drew Garrison scored four touchdowns and accounted for 266 yards of total offense. Quarterback Jordan Martin threw for three touchdowns as the Tigers won for the 19th time in 20 games. Despite the big plays by Triton Central, the game was actually in doubt in the early stages. The Tigers scored on the first play from scrimmage when Garrison ran a sweep to the right side and his teammates executed the blocking scheme to perfection. He turned the corner and rambled untouched 69 yards for paydirt. Just 22 seconds into the contest the Tigers had a 7-0 lead.

On Knightstown’s first possession, veteran linebacker Garrett Pritt intercepted Brice Biehl’s pass and returned it 32 yards for another score. The Panthers were down 13-0 and the teams had been playing for just over a minute.

The Panthers responded with a nice drive to cut the lead to 13-7 and suggest they could make this a game. Ethan Pearson returned the kickoff 38 yards to the Tiger 49, setting up a seven-play drive that put the Panthers on the scoreboard.

Knightstown pounded the ball up the middle with Trey McColley getting a couple of first downs. Biehl then made a nice fake to McColley and pitched the ball to Travis Titus, who bolted around the right side 24 yards for paydirt. Jordan Hauk’s kick cut the lead to 13-7 and the Panthers momentarily looked as if they had stolen the momentum.

But on the ensuing kickoff, Garrison made the Panthers pay again. He rocketed around the left side and went untouched, 91 yards, for another Tiger score that made it 20-7. At that point, Triton Central had run just one play on offense and had three touchdowns to show for it.

To make matters worse, the Tigers recovered the ensuing kickoff at the Knightstown 25, setting up a field goal from 32 yards that upped the score to 23-7 with 6:18 still to play in the first quarter. After a Knightstown punt, the Tigers quickly scored again to punch the lead to 30-7. They added another touchdown on a 68-yard touchdown pass from Jordan Martin to Garrison, increasing the lead to 36-7 at the end of the first quarter.

Triton Central had the ball on offense five times in the first quarter, scored five touchdowns and kicked a field goal, getting one defensive touchdown. It was a totally dominating performance by a veteran team on a mission.

Less than five minutes into the second quarter the Tigers had pushed the lead to 50-7 with two more scores. A 35-yard touchdown pass and another long touchdown run by Garrison put the hosts ahead 50-7 with over seven minutes still to play before the break.

After the touchdown that gave the Tigers point number 50, the boo-birds were becoming increasingly loud on the Knightstown side of the field. A few fans were being extremely critical of the play of the team and impending blowout. Their harsh words were having an impact on the players, who were noticeably upset by the insults.

Prescott pulled his team together in the middle of the field.

“Listen to me guys,” Prescott said. “I’ll take all of the heat from the crowd behind us (in the stands). I’ll take the heat from your moms and dads. As long as this team stays together on the field and tries to play our best. Let me take the heat and you stay together as a team.”

The Panthers responded, putting together a nice drive that ate up five minutes of clock and resulted in three first downs. The drive ended on a four down dropped pass at the Tiger 28-yard line. The next Tiger drive resulted in a three-and-done punt.

Both teams gave younger players the opportunity to get some sectional game experience in the second half, although the Tigers did return their starters to score the game’s last 10 points after Knightstown’s backup players put up 13 unanswered markers.

With freshman quarterback Nolan Hall and fullback Lane Fields in the backfield, the Panthers scored two touchdowns in the third quarter.

On the first drive, Hall had a 37-yard run, and two plays later, went 24 yards for his first varsity touchdown.

Hall looked good going against the Tiger backup varsity players when he directed the Panthers on another drive that covered 73 yards. Fields had a nice 40-yard run when be broke a couple of tackles, and then had two more runs of 10 and eight yards. A two-yard keeper by Hall put Knightstown on the board again with 3:56 to play in the third quarter. That cut the Tiger lead to 50-20 and the Triton Central coach had seen enough. He returned his starters to the field, and they quickly scored on a 68-yard touchdown pass from Martin to Pritt to make it 57-20.

The Tigers added another field to for the final points of the game. Despite leading 60-20, Triton Central actually attempted a 37-yard field goal with two seconds to play in the third quarter, and another from 39 yards with 3:59 to play in the game.

Knightstown fumbled the ball twice in the final frame, ending scoring drives.

Seniors playing their last football game for Knightstown included Kyle Freeman, Trey McColley, Brad Carrender, Zach Lake, Cody Hibbert, Matt Bledsoe, Justin Sanders and Brett Morris. Joe Haase did not play in the game and is still recovering from a concussion suffered earlier in the season.


Knightstown        7    0  13   0  -  20

Triton Central     36  14  10   0  -  60


TC - Drew Garrison 69-yard touchdown run (11:38 first quarter), Bryan Sullivan kick, 0-7.

TC - Garrett Pritt 32-yard interception return for touchdown (10:27 first quarter), kick failed, 0-13.

K -- Travis Titus 25-yard touchdown run (7:42 first quarter), Jordan Hauk kick, 7-13.

TC – Garrison 91-yard kickoff return for touchdown (7:28 first quarter), 7-20.

TC – Sullivan 32-yard field goal, (6:18 first quarter), 7-23.

TC – Evan Beck four-yard touchdown run (3:06 first quarter), Sullivan kick, 7-30.

TC - Garrison 68-yard pass from Jordan Martin (0:20 first quarter), kick failed, 7-36.

TC - Derrick Johnson 35-yard touchdown pass from Martin (11:54 second quarter), Sullivan kick, 7-43.

TC -- Garrison 38-yard touchdown run (7:36 second quarter), Sullivan kick, 7-50.

K -- Nolan Hall 24-yard touchdown run (10:25 third quarter), Hauk kick, 14-50.

K -- Hall 2-yard touchdown run (3:56 third quarter), kick failed, 20-50.

TC -- Pritt 68-yard touchdown pass from Martin (2:39 third quarter), Sullivan kick, 20-57.

TC - Sullivan 36-yard field goal (0:00 third quarter), 20-60.


First Downs = 13 (K), 14 (TC)                                    Rushing-yards = 57-254 (K), 31-234 (TC)

Passing (comp-att-int) = 1-6-1 (K), 4-8-0 (TC)              Passing yards = 10 (K), 178 (TC)

Total yards = 264 (K), 412 (TC)

Punts-Avg. = 5-27.0 (K), 3-39. (TC)                            

Penalties-yards = 4-33 (K), 4-30 (TC)                         Fumbles-lost = 8-3 (K), 3-1 (TC)

Time of Possession = 9:28 (K), 18:32 (TC)


Rushing - Knightstown: Lane Fields 9-89, Nolan Hall 12-76, Trey McColley 22-67, Travis Titus 6-18

Triton Central: Garrison 5-123, Pritt 4-42, Beck 5-34, Justin Sprinkle 3-25, Austin Neuner 5-5, Martin 2-5, John Fisher 1-3, Chris Purvis 1-2, Sullivan 4-(-1), Bradley Mohr 1-(-4)

Passing - Knightstown: Hall 1-3-0 10, Biehl 0-3-1 0. Triton Central: Martin 4-8-0 176.

Receiving - Knightstown: Brett Morris 1-10. Triton Central: Garrison 1-68, Pritt 1-68, Johnson 1-35, Adam Persinger 1-5


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