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8th Graders Whip Shenandoah
September 10, 2008 - Knightstown’s eighth grade football team got off to a slow start in their season opener against Shenandoah. But once the team found its groove, it was all downhill from there.
The young Panthers scored four unanswered touchdowns, including three in the third quarter, and rolled to a 26-6 win over the hosts.
Knightstown started slowing and had to punt on its first possession despite a 40-yard run by Zac Cleek. Shenandoah then struck with a 30-yard touchdown pass that game them an early 6-0 lead.
The Panthers battled back in the second quarter to tie the game. Jared Souders intercepted a pass that only killed a Raider drive, but turned the game around. Souders grabbed the interception at his own 20-yard line and bolted 80 yards to the end zone.
Jordan Jessup recovered a fumble for the Panthers, but Knightstown returned the favor by fumbling the wet pigskin after a completed pass from Cleek to Dakota Smucker.
The 6-6 halftime tie quickly turned into a blowout victory for Knightstown.
Smucker took the second half kickoff and atoned for his earlier fumble, rocketing 75 yards up the middle of the field for a touchdown. That gave Knightstown a lead they would never relinquish.
A nice 11-yard run by Souder set up a touchdown pass from Cleek to Smucker from six yards out.
Another great defensive play was turned in by Andre Loveall, who picked off a Raider pass and returned it 20 yards for another touchdown. Jessup ran for the two-point conversion to cap the scoring in the 26-6 win.
The Panther defense picked up its intensity in the second half and did not allow the Raiders past midfield. The defense was led by the outstanding play of Braxton Kortz, Tommy Masters, Jessup, Souder, and Carter.
“The difference was our special team play,” Coach Joe Patton said. “Smucker’s touchdown on the kickoff to start the second half turned the momentum our way. Then the kickoff team pinned the Raiders down inside their 20 yard line three straight times in the 3rd Quarter.”
Knightstown’s kickoff team included great boots by Souder, including outstanding coverage by Cody Lewis, Zach Crain, and Jessup.
The Panthers are 1-0 on the season and play at home against Eastern Hancock on Thursday. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m.
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