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Panthers Hit Paydirt Seven Times in Preseason Scrimmage
August 15, 2007 - While the jury is still out on how much competition Union County actually brought to the field, one thing is for certain. Coach Bob Prescott’s 2007 edition of Knightstown Panther football will be an explosive on the offensive side, and gang-tackling on the defensive end.
In the controlled scrimmage played Friday night on the Panther field, Knightstown scored at will against a bigger, but much slower group of Patriots. The Panthers registered seven touchdowns in the contest, allowing just one. Two more KHS touchdowns were brought back on penalties.
The only Patriot score came when the teams were utilizing a short yardage situation, giving each team the ball at the 10 yard line with 10 plays to run. Union County scored its lone points on that drive, and managed just one first down during the rest of the scrimmage.
Knightstown set up in the 10-yard situation and scored four times on just seven plays. They also put together three drives that started from their own 35-yard line, and put the ball in the end zone twice. The Panthers showed their ability to run and throw the ball, while totally dominating Union County on both sides. It was an extremely impressive performance, although it could have been worse if not for penalties that resulted in big plays being brought back, including two more touchdown runs. For the most part, Prescott was pleased.
“In comparison to last year at this time, I saw a lot more energy, enthusiasm and focus,” Prescott said. “That’s not to take anything away from last year’s seniors because I loved those kids. But I think we have a more cohesive unit this year, and I’m seeing some of the veteran players really helping out the younger kids. That’s a tribune to these seniors, and that’s going to make us a better overall team.
“Defensively, I thought we flew to the ball really well. There wasn’t just one person in on the tackle, he immediately had help. We had very few missed tackles, and last year in the season opener against Centerville missed tackles really hurt us.”
Union County got the ball first at their 35-yard line, and had 15 plays in which to move the ball. On the first series, they gained their only first down on the night. That drive was immediately halted when a Panther defensive lineman tipped a pass, and senior Zach Lake intercepted the ball.
Returning to the 35 to start over, the Patriots were greeted by back-to-back defensive stops by senior Brad Carrender, and senior Justin Sanders followed that with a quarterback sack. The Patriots finished their 15-play drive with a net 10 yards of offense, and they had gained 15 on the first three plays from scrimmage.
Then the Panther offense took to the field from their own 35, and immediately made some things happen. Senior Trey McColley rambled 22 yards up the middle to the Patriot 43, and quarterback Joe Haase then pitched to sophomore Levi Blair for 11 more yards to the 32. Freshman Danny Ortman picked up 11 more yards to the 21, and the Patriots then got their first taste of the cutting ability of Haase.
Haase rolled left on the option, found nothing there, and scrambled back right, cutting sharply to avoid tacklers while rambling down to the eight yard line. McColley then took the ball up the gut for paydirt as the Panthers completed a 65-yard drive in just six plays.
Returning to the 35 yard line, Knightstown went to junior quarterback Brice Biehl. On the first play, he scrambled 33 yards to the Patriot 32. A penalty on the Panthers brought the ball back to the Patriot 49, but that didn’t stop the Red and Black. McColley picked up 36 yards on his next carry, down to the 13. Another penalty on the Panthers backed them up to the 19, but Biehl immediately went to the air and found sophomore Anthony Forshey for nine yards to the 10.
At that point, Prescott brought in his third quarterback, sophomore Drew Martin, who went to work right away. Running right, Martin pitched to sophomore Travis Titus for another Panther touchdown. “I was really pleased with the offensive line,” Prescott said. “Kyle (Freeman) really moved some people with his blocks, as did the entire line. Our backs really ran the ball well, and we’ve got some pretty good depth in our backfield. I thought all three of our quarterbacks played very well.” Switching to a short-yardage situation, the Patriots set up with the ball at the 10-yard line with a first and goal and 10 plays available. They scored, but it took them seven plays and a five-yard penalty on the Panthers to get it done.
Knightstown then went on offense from the 10, and scored four times on the first seven plays. It was a dominating performance.
On the first play, Haase gave to McColley, who bulldozed his way those 10 yards for the third KHS score. They got the ball again at the 10, and this touchdown took two plays. Haase kept for five yards, and McColley knocked over two guys on his way in for another score.
Setting up at the 10 again, Haase threw to senior tight end Brett Morris in the left corner of the end zone. That gave the team three touchdowns in four plays.
Setting up once again at the 10, McColley took the handoff to the six. Prescott again changed out his offense, sending Biehl and several new players onto the field. Biehl gave to freshman Lane Fields on two straight plays, and he scored the fourth Panther touchdown in seven plays during the series.
As impressive as the offense was on this night, the defense didn’t give up much of anything. Union County’s next series of downs would begin at the Knightstown 35, and they had 12 plays to do something with that field position. Despite the Panthers having a 15-yard penalty, the Patriots finished the drive with 12 plays and one yard of offense. Justin Sanders had a quarterback sack that resulted in a 16-yard loss, negating the penalty.
When the Panthers went on offense from the Patriot 35, it didn’t take them long to show off that potent offense once again. On a keeper, Haase broke two tackles and rocketed 35 yards to the end zone.
Once again, a Knightstown penalty erased a touchdown run, and brought the ball back to the 28 yard line. But on the very next play, Haase threw a rocket pass to Morris crossing over the center of the field, and the tight end made the play for the seventh Panther touchdown.
In 37 offensive plays, the Panthers scored seven touchdowns and had two more called back on penalties. The offensive unit worked with precision normally found at mid-season, and the experience of Haase and McColley was evident.
“Joe had a tremendous winter in the weight room and he is seeing the result of that now, just as he did in baseball season,” Prescott said. “Trey had a great game running the ball and he didn’t get very many carries. But when he did carry it, he made them pay.”
The Panthers will open the regular season this Friday night at home against Centerville.
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