September 6, 2012

Fourth-Down Conversions Cost Tigers in 14-8 Loss to Knox County

Bailey Johnston puts the pressure on Knox County quarterback Donovan Edwards during first quarter action at Edina on Friday night.

A pair of fourth down conversions proved to be the difference maker on a soggy Friday night in Edina as Knox County edged Scotland County 14-8 in a non-conference football battle.

The Eagles took the lead early. After converting a fourth and one situation on its very first possession, Knox County found the end zone on the very next play as quarterback Donovan Edwards scampered 52 yards for the touchdown. The two-point conversion attempt was stuffed by the Tigers, leaving the score at 6-0 with 9:39 left in the first period.

The next 21 minutes weren't nearly as eventful as both squads struggled on offense the majority of the first half.

The Tigers managed a pair of first downs on the team's first offensive possession, but the drive ultimately stalled out.

Knox County was moving the ball on its second possession of the contest before linebacker Jed Troutman deflected an Edwards pass attempt and Caleb Doubet plucked the ball out of the air for an interception at the 33 yard line with 42.9 seconds to go in the first period.

The two teams traded punts during the second period and Knox County went to the locker room up 6-0 with the story of the first half being the one big play and the one turnover.

The two teams combined for just six first downs in the game's opening 24 minutes. The Eagles amassed nearly 120 yards on offense (more than 1/3 on Edward's TD run) compared to less than 30 yards for the Tigers.

SCR-I took the opening kickoff of the second half but could not move the chains.

It took a pair of fourth down conversions, but the Eagles were able to pick up a pair of first downs, setting up a 21-yard touchdown run by Jared Barnard. Edwards ran the two-point conversion in to make it 14-0 with 5:36 left in the third quarter.

A penalty on the ensuing kickoff backed SCR-I up deep and the Tigers were unable to get out of the shadow of their own end zone.

Knox County was unable to take advantage of the good field position following the punt. The Tigers defense held on downs at the 40 yard line with the key play a Monte Sally sack of Edwards.

The Tigers offense continued to struggle with another three and out series.

Punter Bailey Johnston gave his team the break it was needing. The sophomore boomed a 58-yard kick that was downed at the two yard line.

Knox County caught a break when an apparent fumble was blown dead by the officials who ruled the runner was down by contact. SCR-I held strong and forced a Knox County punt. The Tigers blocked the kick and took over at the two-yard line.

The momentum shift was short lived, as SCR-I gave the ball right back on a fumble.

SCR-I's defense again answered the bell, stuffing Knox County on three plays and again forcing a punt from the end zone.

The Tigers got a second chance, again blocking the kick and taking over in scoring position.

This time SCR-I took advantage of the opportunity as Chris Jackson scored on a four-yard TD run. Cordie Kigar then connected with Jackson on pass play for the two-point conversion to make it 14-8 with 3:49 left in the ball game.

The Tigers tried an onside kick but Knox County took the ball at midfield after the kick failed to go the required 10 yards. A face mask penalty on the Tigers helped move the chains for the Eagles as they looked to run out the clock. Edwards broke an apparent touchdown run but it was called back on a holding penalty on the Eagles, before a pair of first downs finally allowed the home squad to run out the clock on the 14-8 victory.

The Tigers were held to just four first downs on the night on offense. McRobert had 50 yards rushing on 17 carries. Jackson had 10 yards and a TD on three attempts. Kigar completed two of four pass attempts.

The Eagles had 250 yards of total offense on the night but managed just eight first downs. Edwards ran the ball 10 times for 75 yards. Kellen Gillespie had 75 yards on 11 carries and Barnard finished with 53 yards on seven attempts. Edwards was 0-2 passing with an interception.

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