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Eastern Hancock Given Royal Spanking in 61-14 Romp
September 24, 2008 - In the annual gridiron renewal of one of the school’s biggest and longest-lasting rivalries, the Knightstown Panthers dominated the Eastern Hancock Royals in every aspect of the game. The 61-14 annihilation Knightstown dropped on Eastern Hancock last Friday night established all-time records for points scored, margin of victory and total yardage by the Panthers against the Royals.
The Panthers scored at will against an Eastern Hancock defense that was powerless to stop the misdirection and confusing triple-option offensive assault, which was captained brilliantly by senior quarterback Brice Biehl.
On both sides of the ball, Knightstown did exactly what it wanted to do, save for a few scary minutes late in the first half. The Panthers scored on their first five possessions and bolted out to a 33-0 lead less than five minutes into the second quarter. At that point, the team had implemented the game plan, tailored specifically for the Royals, to perfection.
“We came out with that triple-option and that first drive just gave us the confidence we needed,” Panther coach Bob Prescott said of the opening seven-play, 90-yard touchdown drive. “We had talked to the kids in the locker room before the kickoff and challenged them to play fast and constantly go on the attack. That’s what they did.”
That final statistics tell the story of an absolute domination on the field. Knightstown finished the game with over 600 yards of offense, had eight scoring drives that took less than two minutes, and four of those drives took less than 14 seconds. The team averaged nearly 12 yards gained per offensive play. In the first quarter alone, Knightstown had three scoring drives, running 16 plays, gaining 242 yards, and averaging an astounding 15 yards per play.
The win was the first for Prescott over the Royals, and secured the traveling trophy the “Plowshare & Anvil,” which is presented to the winner of the annual battle that dates back to 1974.
The fireworks all started with that initial 90-yard drive after the Royal kickoff took a whacky bounce and was picked up Travis Titus at the five-yard line. He could just advance the ball to the 10, and that brought Royal fans to their feet. They remained seated for the rest of the quarter.
On Knightstown’s first play from scrimmage, Danny Ortman took a last-second pitch from Biehl and raced 66 yards to the Royal 24. Six plays later Lane Fields was in the end zone and Jordan Hauk’s kick made it 7-0 with 8:45 on the clock.
Knightstown forced a Royal punt, but a 15-yard penalty on the runback pushed the Panthers back inside their own 20 to start their second drive. Biehl picked up 20 yards on two runs, and pitched to Titus for 15 more. From the Royal 47-yard line, Biehl dropped back to pass and found wideout Kelton Lane all alone deep down the sideline. The perfect pass was good for the 47-yard touchdown strike and completed a four-play, 81-yard drive for paydirt. Hauk’s boot made it 14-0 at the 5:03 mark of the quarter.
Steve Stunda connected with Jeff Cushing on a 36-yard touchdown pass for Eastern Hancock, but the Panther defense stiffened and stopped the Royals on downs at the Panther 29.
Knightstown then went 71 yards on five plays to score again. The Panthers got 18 of those on a pass from Biehl to Titus, and the final 51 yards on a draw play in which Fields rocketed up the middle untouched. Suddenly, with 21 seconds left in the first quarter, the Panthers had racked up 242 yards of offense and led 20-0.
After forcing another Royal punt, the Panthers struck again on a 61-yard drive that took just five plays. Ortman ran for 20 yards and then caught a Biehl pass for 10 more to the Royal 31. Biehl then ran a keeper to the 15, where a Royal defender had a grip on him, but the quarterback pitched the ball to a chasing Lane, who took the lateral the last 15 yards into the end zone. Hauk made it 27-0 with the PAT.
After Hauk’s kickoff saddled the Royals inside their 20 again, Knightstown’s defense forced another punt and this one was shanked out of bounds at the Royal 28. The nine-yard punt was more salt in the Royal wounds. Biehl ran for 16 yards to the 12. Ethan Pearson then ran the ball in for a touchdown, but the play was brought back to the 18 due to a penalty. It didn’t matter, because two plays later Biehl threw another perfect bullet to Titus for a 16-yard scoring strike that made it 33-0 with 7:38 still to play in the first half.
After the Panthers built that 33-point lead the Royals finally found some life, thanks to back-to-back Knightstown turnovers. Eastern Hancock put together an impressive drive that covered 65 yards, included eight plays and was aided by a 15-yard penalty on the Panthers. Stunda scored on a quarterback sneak from one yard out, and then hit Cushing for the two-point conversion to make it 33-8.
Knightstown ran just two plays before fumbling the ball back to the Royals at the Panther 22-yard line. Stunda then immediately went back to Cushing for a 22-yard strike and in a manner of 61 seconds the Royals had put up two scores and cut the lead to 33-14. Those were the first points allowed by Knightstown in the first half this season.
After Titus made a tremendous one-handed catch for a crucial first down, the Royals appeared to steal the game’s momentum when they forced another Knightstown fumble. Nate Hungate pounced on the ball at the Panther 34-yard line, once again setting up the Royals deep in Panther territory and threatening to make a game out of what had appeared to be a blowout.
At that critical stage, the game took a permanent turn and Knightstown regained control. The Panther defense once again took the big bite out of the Royals. Pearson knocked down a pass in the end zone and Knightstown held ground, getting the ball back at their own 19 and preventing a third straight score by the Royals.
“If they would have scored at that point, things could have really gotten crazy,” Prescott said. “That would have given them three straight scores and the ball to begin the second half. But that’s when our defense stepped up and did its job, and that’s what the kids have been doing over the last few weeks.”
Despite just 1:09 left on the halftime clock, the Panthers nearly put up another score. As time ran out, Biehl again connected with Titus, who once again made a spectacular catch for a 46-yard gain down to the Royal 14-yard line. Time ran out on the series, but it was the second unbelievable catch by Titus, who was playing just two days after a freak accident at school that required 13 stitches to his lips.
Despite having a 19-point lead at the half, there was a nervous tension in the air at Panther stadium because the Royals had scored 14-unanswered points and were getting the ball first. Mumblings about the team losing an 18-point second half lead against Centerville could be heard in the stands at intermission.
There would be no repeat performance of that meltdown.
Despite throwing an interception on its first series in the third quarter, Knightstown forced back-to-back Royal punts and then went to work. The second Panther drive of the quarter needed just one play. Biehl shot off left tackle 60-yards for paydirt, and Hauk’s PAT kick made it 40-14 with 5:28 to play in the quarter.
Another deep kickoff by Hauk saddled the Royals at their own 21, and defensive plays by Zach Sanders, Fields and Pearson forced a 4th-and-five at the 26. Trying to make something happen and knowing the last two EH punts had traveled 16 and 14 yards, respectively, Royal coach Mark Reddy decided to go for it.
Jordan Back made them pay by blasting through the line and knocking down the pass shortly after it left Stunda’s hand.
Taking over on downs at the Royal 26, the Panthers again needed just one play to score. Fields shot up the middle those last 26 yards for the touchdown and a 46-14 lead.
The next two Royal possessions ended on an interception by Lane and a safety. Pearson knocked down a brilliant punt that rolled to a stop at the EH six yard line. The 4th-and-10 punt was bobbled by the punter and Pearson pounced on him for the safety and the accompanying two points. That increased the lead to 48-16 with 10:02 to play.
Eastern Hancock’s free kick went out of bounds at their own 38, and Knightstown, once again, needed just one play to score. Backup quarterback and sophomore Nolan Hall took the snap and went around left tackle, the exact same play Biehl had scored on earlier, and shot 38 yards to the end zone at the 9:49 mark, increasing the lead to 54-14.
Knightstown got the ball back on downs again at the Royal 47, and for the fourth time in the contest, needed just one play to score. Fields rocketed 47 yards for his third touchdown of the night, and Hauk’s fifth PAT capped the scoring at 61-14.
Biehl had 310 all-purpose yards on the night. He collected 47 in three punt returns, ran the ball 15 times for 115 yards, and connected on 6-of-9 passes for 148 yards. He threw for two scores and ran for two more in a tremendous all-around game.
Knightstown’s average field position when starting drives was its own 40-yard line, despite starting the first three drives from its own 10, 19 and 29, respectively. So effective were Hauk’s kickoffs and the Panther special teams’ play that Eastern Hancock started its 10 drives at an average of the 21-yard line. Neither of Pearson’s punts was returned.
Fields finished with 178 rushing yards on just 15 carries with three touchdowns. Ortman ran the ball just three times but gained 97 yards. Knightstown had a total yardage advantage of 607-245.
The game marked the most points scored by Knightstown since the 2005 team put up 72 against Hagerstown.
Knightstown 20 13 13 15 - 61
Eastern Hancock 0 14 0 0 - 14
K – Brice Biehl 2-yard run (8:45), Jordan Hauk kick, 7-0
K – Kelton Lane 47-yard touchdown pass from Biehl (5:03), Hauk kick, 14-0
K – Lane Fields 51-yard touchdown run (0:27), kick failed, 20-0
K – Lane 15-yard run on lateral from Biehl (10:20), Hauk kick, 27-0
K- Travis Titus 16-yard touchdown pass from Biehl (7:38), kick failed, 33-0
EH – Steve Stunda 1-yard touchdown run (5:00), Stunda pass to Jeff Cushing for PAT, 33-8
EH – Cushing 22-yard touchdown pass from Stunda (3:59), pass failed, 33-14
K – Biehl 60-yard touchdown run (5:28), Hauk kick, 40-14
K – Fields 26-yard touchdown run (3:52), kick failed, 46-14
K – Ethan Pearson safety tackling punter Jeff Ryan in end zone (10:02), 48-14
K – Nolan Hall 38-yard touchdown run (9:49), kick failed, 54-14
K – Fields 47-yard touchdown run (6:51), Hauk kick, 61-14
First Downs: 14 (K), 11 (EH)
Rushes-Yards: 42-459 (K), 25-90 (EH)
Passing (Att-Comp-Int): 6-10-1 (K), 18-41-2 (EH)
Touchdown Passes: 2 (K), 1 (EH)
Passing Yards: 148 (K), 155 (EH)
Total Yards : 607 (K), 245 (EH)
Total Plays-Avg. Gain: 52-11.7 (K), 66-3.7 (EH)
Fumbles-Lost: 5-2 (K), 2-0 (EH)
Penalties-Yards: 3-30 (K), 4-45 (EH)
Punts-Yds-Net Avg: 2-85-42.5 (K), 6-102-17.0 (EH)
Time of Possession : 21:46 (K), 26:14 (EH)
Rushing (Att-Yds, TDs): K – Lane Fields 15-178, 3 TDs; Brice Biehl 15-115, 2 TDs; Danny Ortman 3-97; Titus 2-22; Kelton Lane 1-15; Nolan Hall 2-36, 1 TD; Ethan Pearson 1-1; Will Milton 3 (-5). EH – Doug Spegal 16-92, Harrod 2-0, Stunda 7 (-2)
Passing (Com-Att-Yds-Td): K – Biehl 6-10-1, 148 yards, 2 TDs. EH – Stunda 17-39-2, 147 yards, 1 TD; Logan Gilbert 1-2-0, 8 yards
Receiving: K – Titus 4-90 yards, 1 TD; Lane 1-47 yards, 1 Td; Ortman 1-11 yards
Interceptions: K – Titus, Lane. EH – Jeff Cushing
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