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 Turnovers Costly in 6-0 Loss to Hagerstown

September 3, 2008 - The Knightstown Panther football team managed just two drives that covered more than 40 yards during last Friday night’s home opener against Hagerstown. Both drives ended with a turnover.

It was that kind of a night for the Panther offense. Knightstown couldn’t take advantage of key situations to score, and an opportunistic Hagerstown offense did just that in handing the Panthers a 6-0 loss.

The loss dropped Knightstown to 0-2 on the season and extended the team’s losing streak to five games dating back to last season.

On two possessions in the fourth quarter the Panthers put together their most impressive scoring drives of the game. On both occasions, the team fumbled the ball away after a significant gain that had put them into scoring position.

The Tigers, meanwhile, did almost nothing offensively in the entire second half, but managed to score after they fumbled the ball at the end of an impressive drive. The difference in the game was Hagerstown recovered its fumble in the end zone.

Defensively, Knightstown more than held its own against a veteran Tiger offense. Hagerstown was held to less than 100 yards passing and rushing. The Tigers managed just two first downs the entire second half, and the second one came in the game’s final seconds. A stingy Panther defense allowed five first downs in the game’s first 10 minutes, and then held Hagerstown to just two first downs over the next 37 minutes.

Hagerstown scored the game’s only points after punter Matt Brennan pinned Knightstown deep at its own two-yard line. Brennan and Panther punter Ethan Pearson had for the most part been battling it out the entire contest, with both registering eight punts in the game.

But Brennan, who was a Panther pain-in-the-keister on this night, punted for an average of 38 yards on his eight tries. He also had four quarterback sacks and recovered a fumble. Brennan’s 47-yard punt put Knightstown on its heels at the two-yard line with 5:53 to play in the third quarter.

Unable to move the ball, Knightstown ran three plays and punted the pigskin back, giving the Tigers field position at the Panther 40.

It took just four plays for the Tigers to score, but they were very fortunate to get away with those six points. Quarterback Matt Golliher hit favorite target Joe Golliher with a short pass that he ending up fumbling at the goal line. Teammate Lex Bartlett pounced on the ball in the end zone to score the game’s only points.

Twice in the game’s final eight minutes the Panthers put together drives after finally figuring out a way to move the ball against the Tigers. Starting from its own 21-yard line with 8:40 on the game clock, Knightstown used five plays to move the ball 41 yards into Tiger territory.

The next play was a fumble at the Hagerstown 38, recovered by Brennan, to stop the drive.

The Panthers turned in a great defensive stand late in the fourth quarter and had another chance to pull out the win. Hagerstown forced a Panther punt and had the ball at its own 38 with 3:24 showing on the clock.

The Knightstown defense stepped up to the challenge and got the ball back one more time for the offense. Aaron Forshey and Kelton Lane drilled Joe Golliher on a running play that inexplicably went toward the sideline, stopping the clock. Golliher’s next carry was stopped by Cory Wisehart and Zach Sanders for a loss of four yards, bringing up a 3rd-and-14. After a Panther time out, a pass was completed to Brock Fisher, but he was nailed by Brice Biehl at the 44, forcing a punt.

Knightstown got the ball back with 2:51 on the clock, allowing Hagerstown to run off just 33 seconds of game time.

After two deep incomplete passes intended for Drew Martin and Kelton Lane, Biehl tightened it up and found Danny Ortman for 11 yards and a first down. Biehl then scrambled on the next play, running right and then cutting back. He leapt over a diving defender and was pulled down at the Tiger 46 after a 14-yard gain.

That set the Panthers up in Hagerstown territory at the 2:00 mark. Biehl then fired the ball to Ortman again for 15 yards to the 25. But a hard hit by a Tiger defender jarred the ball loose and Hagerstown recovered.

For the second straight week, the Panthers saw a game get away from them that they probably should have won.

Field position played a major role in the game. Knightstown started drives twice inside its own 10-yard line and five times inside its own 20. Hagerstown’s average starting field position for the entire game was its own 41-yard line.

In the first half the Knightstown offense was non-existent. The team ran 19 rushing plays and gained just 42 yards. They managed just two first downs, punted five times and lost a fumble in six possessions. Five of Knightstown’s first half possessions resulted in three-and-done situations.

But the Knightstown defensive front of Jacob Wooldridge, Nick Hochstedler, Anthony Forshey and Cory Wisehart more than held its own against Hagerstown. Once again, the Panthers were outweighed by an average of nearly 20 pounds per man. Wisehart also recovered two fumbles for the second straight game.

In the second half the Panther defense held the Tigers to 71 total yards, while the Knightstown offense churched out more than 140 yards.

Pearson had a busy night for the Panthers, punting eight times for an average of 36 per punt. He nailed a 61-yarder in the first quarter. Pearson also intercepted a pass in the game.


Knightstown     0  0  0  0  -  0

Hagerstown      0  0  6  0  -  6


First Downs:  11 (K), 8 (H)

Rushes-Yards:  29-101 (K), 34-84 (H)

Passing:  8-15-0 (K), 8-16-1 (H)

Passing Yards:  91 (K), 95 (H)

Total Yards:  192 (K), 179 (H)

Punts-Yds-Avg:  8-288-36.0 (K), 8-304-38.0 (H)

Penalties:  4-25 (K), 3-20 (H)

Fumbles-Lost:  5-3 (K), 6-2 (H)

Time of Possession:  22:56 (K), 25.04 (H)


Passing:  Brice Biehl 6-11, 77 yards, Nolan Hall 2-4, 15 yards

Rushing:  Danny Ortman 4-26, Biehl 17-32, Levi Blair 4-26, Lane Fields 4-17

Receiving:  Ortman 5-80, Kelton Lane 1-9, Blair 2-2

Fumble Recoveries:  Cory Wisehart 2 (4 on season), Biehl

Interceptions:  Ethan Pearson


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