October 16, 2008

Knox County Captures Clyde Trophy, Takes Big Step Toward Playoffs

With a rules change instituted this season allowing the top two teams from each district to qualify for the state playoffs, Knox County took a huge step in advancing to the post season while maintaining ownership of the Clyde traveling trophy in the process.

The Eagles soared past Scotland County 37-12 to win the rivalry match and keep the Kyle Peterson memorial trophy for another year. In the process Knox County took the lead in the district standings, setting up a huge showdown next week against North Shelby (5-3, 3-2), which blasted Schuyler County (0-8, 0-5) 36-0 in the other district contest.

The visiting squad jumped on top on its opening possession. SCR-I kept the drive alive with a critical offsides penalty on fourth down. That set up a 31-yard touchdown run by Lucas Hudson with 6:11 left in the first period. Aaron Neagle stuffed the two-point conversion attempt to keep the score at 6-0.

Scotland County showed a new look on offense with Sabe Sears taking over at quarterback. Former signal caller Kyle Shelley moved to fullback. The change paid immediate dividends, as SCR-I picked up a first down on a pair of runs by Caleb Kittle behind the lead blocks of Shelley. But the drive stalled and SCR-I was forced to punt.

The Eagles again marched down the field before the SCR-I defense stopped the drive on three straight attempts from inside the 10-yard line. Again it was Neagle making a key stop to force the Eagles to settle for a 28-yard field goal by Cameron Kirmse.

After SCR-I went three and out on its next possession, Knox County mounted another scoring drive. Hudson capped the series with a 32-yard TD run to put the Eagles on top 15-0 with 3:33 left in the first half.

SCR-I stole some of the momentum when Sabe Sears connected with Kittle on a 44-yard pass play that put the ball at the one-yard line. Shelley returned to the quarterback spot and ran the ball in for a one-yard touchdown. But the junior was injured on the play and was lost for the remainder of the contest.

The injury stole any momentum created by the score, as SCR-I went to the locker room trailing 15-6.

Both teams went three and out on their opening possessions of the second half. SCR-I moved the chains on a pair of runs by Kittle before the second possession of the third period ended with SCR-I having trouble handling the snaps and ultimately turning the ball over on downs at the 37-yard line.

Two plays later Knox County was in the end zone. A 20-yard run by fullback Ben Harder was followed by a 43- yard touchdown scamper by quarterback Keenan Gillaspy. He then connected with Dennis Dent for the two-point conversion to put Knox County on top 23-06. The two teams traded defensive stops on the next three possessions before Knox County scored again.

It was Gillaspy again, this time breaking a 45-yard TD run with 9:54 left in the fourth period. He found Matthew McCarthy in the end zone for the two-point conversion to make the score 31-06.

Scotland County mounted its second scoring drive of the night on the following possession. Kittle gave the team good field position with a solid kick return. The senior turned in a solid run to push the ball across midfield. Sabe Sears then connected with Logan Brassfield on a 13-yard completion. That set up a 15-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Garnett. The junior receiver made a great catch in the corner of the end zone to cut the deficit to 31-12 with 6:12 left in the game.

But Knox County closed out the contest with a long drive that was capped by a five-yard touchdown run by lineman turned fullback Jacob Moots. That made the final tally 37-12.

Scotland County made eight first downs on the evening. Shelley had 31 yards on six carries in the first half. Kittle finished with 45 yards on 18 attempts. Brassfield carried the ball twice for six yards. Sabe Sears completed three of five pass attempts for 72 yards and a TD. Garnett, Kittle and Brassfield each caught one pass.

Knox County amassed 20 first downs behind a balanced attack. Gillapsy carried the ball four times for 100 yards and two scores. He completed five of nine passes for 39 yards. Hudson went for 101 yards on 15 carries with two TD runs.

SCR-I fell to 1-7 on the year and 0-5 in Tri-Rivers Conference play. The Eagles made it three straight wins to improve to 3-4 overall and 3-2 in league play. In other conference results, Clark County (8-0, 6-0) remained undefeated with 34-0 victory over Macon. Brookfield (7-1, 6-0) bested Highland 51-19, Putnam County (26-, 2-4) was shutout by Marceline 43-0, while Milan (3-5, 2-4) was blanked by Princeton 47-0.

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