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 8th Grade Gridders Thrash Royals 36-0

September 17, 2008 - Knightstown’s eighth grade football team started out slowly, but eventually turned on the burners on its way to a 36-0 thrashing of Eastern Hancock last week. The young Panthers had over 300 yards of offense and ran its record to 2-0 for the season.

In two games this year, Knightstown has outscored its opponents 62-6. The Panthers and Royals fought to a scoreless battle through one quarter, but Knightstown exploded for two touchdowns in both the second and third quarters.

Jack Carter got things started when he recovered an Eastern Hancock fumble. Quarterback Zac Cleek then threw a 58-yard touchdown pass to Dakota Smucker to make it 6-0.

After Jordan Jessup caused another Royal turnover, Cleek went to the air again, hitting Andre Loveall with a short pass that he turned into a 20-yard touchdown play. Cleek ran for two-point conversion to make it 14-0.

Late in second quarter the Royals were putting together a nice drive deep into Panther territory. But Knightstown’s defense stopped the Royals at the three-yard line when Smucker intercepted a pass.

Opening the third quarter, Loveall ran the kickoff back 62 yards, and then Jessup had a 19-yard touchdown run. Cleek’s two-point run on the conversion upped the Knightstown lead to 22-0.

Zach Crain then intercepted another Royal pass on the next possession. Dean Thomas followed that up with a 30-yard touchdown run to increase the lead to 28-0. In the fourth quarter, Eastern Hancock put together another nice drive that was eventually killed by a great defensive stand by Knightstown.

Getting the ball at their own three-yard line, the Panthers then rocked the stadium when Thomas took the handoff and received great blocking from Jarrod Davis and Cory Bowling. Thomas bolted 97 yards for the touchdown on the play. Cleek ran for his third two-point conversion to cap the scoring.

Knightstown’s outstanding defensive effort was led by the play of Nathan Drumm, Jared Souder, Tommy Masters, Grant Kennedy and Braxton Kortz.

The offensive line of Walker Titus, Justin Mann, Anthony Peck, Jack Adkins and Carter consistently opened up huge holes for the running backs and gave Cleek plenty of time to throw the ball.

Knightstown rushed for over 230 yards and Cleek completed four passes for 116 yards and two touchdowns.

“Defensively, we played well,” coach Joe Patton said. “Eastern was able to move the ball on us at times, but then we were able to come up with solid play to stop then short of scoring. We did a much better job in the second half of taking care of the football, and we were able to pound the middle because the line blocked very well.”

The eighth graders host Driver Thursday night at 6 p.m.


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