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 Cleek's Run Sparks 8th Graders

October 1, 2008 - Knightstown’s eighth grade football team overcame a series of mistakes and rode the outstanding play of its defense to a 16-8 win over Lapel last week. The victory improved the team’s record to 4-0 this season.

The two teams were tied at 8-8 through three quarters, and the Panthers forced Lapel to punt to open the fourth period. Zac Cleek then scampered 66 yards for a touchdown midway through the quarter. On the two-point conversion, Knightstown fumbled the ball. But an alert Andre Loveall picked up the pigskin and got into the end zone for the conversion.

On the ensuing possession, the Lapel ball carrier appeared to break a long run down the sideline. But Cody Gray had other ideas and turned play back inside, where Austin Darling was able to make the crucial tackle and save the touchdown.

The Panthers then stopped Lapel on four downs and ran out the clock to preserve the win.

“Our defense is playing very good football, but, offensively we have a lot of work to do on our running game,” coach Joe Patton said. “Our goal is to get better each game and our rushing attack is not accomplishing that goal.”

Knightstown kicked off to open the game and forced Lapel to punt after nice defensive plays by Tommy Masters.

But the young Panthers struggled on offense after initially moving the ball. A holding penalty killed the first drive.

Again, the defense stepped up the intensity and Jared Souders picked off a Lapel pass and returned it 26 yards for a touchdown.

Jake Cater carried for two-point conversion to put Knightstown up 8-0.

Lapel ran the ensuing kickoff back for a touchdown and was successful on the two-point conversion to tie the game.

Knightstown had two second quarter drives stall after a fumble and a penalty, and a long gain brought back due to a penalty in the third quarter. That set up the fourth quarter dramatics and the long touchdown run by Cleek.

The Panther defense was led by the play of linebackers Masters and Jordan Jessup, who had five and four solo tackles, respectively.

The eighth graders host Centerville on Thursday at 6 p.m.


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