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Slater Slips Past Eagles
By David Sharp
Jeremy Fizer broke free on two game changing plays, leading Slater (1-2) to a mud bogged 18-0 win over Knox County. The September 13, 2008 varsity football game was threatened by severe weather and hampered by more than five inches of rain that fell on Saline County in the previous 48 hours.
A tornado was reportedly sighted 15 miles south of Slater at around 6:30PM. Officials scrapped plans to start the game early in an attempt to avoid forecasted heavy rains and thunderstorms in the area.
The contest wound up starting on time without rain falling on players and coaches. Football games on the high school and college level were affected by muddy field conditions all weekend. This contest was no exception.
Injuries prevented Dennis Dent, Cory Chockley and Cameron Kirmse from participating. Kirmse is available to place kick. His defense stretching speed on the outside has been missed.
The Eagles moved all-purpose player Andy Greenley to fullback and came out in a Power-I set. Knox County could not move the football on the opening series of the contest and punted.
Slater lined up in a tight double wing, single set back offense. Jeremy Fizer took the ball and found no running room in the middle of the Eagle defense. Fizer jab stepped to the outside and took advantage of missed off tackle containment for a 54 yard touchdown dash with 7:49 to play in the first quarter.
Lucas Hudson entered the game at tailback. Hudson missed the previous contest with Westran with an ankle injury. The Eagle offensive line made holes for Andy Greenley and Hudson to run the football for around five yards a pop.
Knox County moved the football from their ten yard line to the KCHS 46. Cody Morgenstern hauled in an 11 yard screen pass from Keenan Gillaspy on third down for a clutch KCHS first down.
Three consecutive recovered fumbles set up a fourth down and six yards to go situation. Knox County could not convert and surrendered the ball on downs on the Slater 49 yard line.
Neither team could move the football in the increasingly muddy conditions and punted. Keenan Gillaspy pounded the ball 44 yards to the Wildcat 38 yard line. Jeremy Fizer found another possible missed assignment on the other side of the Eagle defense.
Fizer sprinted 46 yards for another Slater score at the 6:48 mark of the second period. The play was identical to the first Wildcat touchdown. The point after attempt failed on both Wildcat touchdowns to that juncture. Slater held a 12-0 lead.
The Wildcat defense stripped the football from a Knox County runner, leading to Slater recovering the football on the Eagle 42 yard line.
Knox County’s defense played very well with the exception of the two Slater touchdown runs. Brady Morton made a great defensive play forcing a Wildcat punt.
The Eagles could not move the football and punted. The Wildcats blocked the punt, giving the home team possession on the Knox County 20 yard line with two minutes to play in the first half.
Knox County’s defense rose for their best series of the season to date. Cody Morgenstern and Brady Morton roared through the Wildcat line for quarterback sacks. The Eagles got the football back on downs on their 20 yard line with 1:09 remaining in the first half.
The Eagles elected to attack the Slater defense. Knox County had men open in the Wildcat secondary several times but could not get the ball to them. Slater put good pressure on the KCHS quarterback.
An errant pass was picked off by Tyler Bishop for a Slater touchdown with 34 seconds to play in the first half. The two point run failed and Slater led 18-0.
Keenan Gillaspy had three good runs, advancing the football to the Slater 34 yard line. The clock ran out with the Eagles driving toward the Wildcat goal.
First half statistics were vary even. Knox County had eight first downs to three for Slater. Two of the Wildcat first downs were awarded as the result of touchdowns. Five KCHS first half penalties harmed their chances. Knox County dominated the game with the exception of three pivotal plays.
The Eagles made more huge defensive plays on the first Slater series of the second half. The Wildcats tried an unsuccessful fake punt, giving Knox County the football on the Slater 41 yard line.
Neither team could make a first down on the next three series. Knox County turned the ball over on downs twice. The Eagles defense wrested the ball away on downs between the pair of KCHS possessions. The fourth quarter began with a Wildcat possession on the Eagle 47 yard line.
Davin York picked off his second pass of the season to the Eagle 35 yard line. Slater returned the favor. The Wildcats appeared to score another TD on an interception return.
Slater began hurting themselves with penalties. The play was called back on a penalty for a Knox County first down near the original line of scrimmage. The Eagles lost a fumble on fourth down and three.
Slater had the football on the Knox County 34 yard line. The Eagles got on a fumble. Knox County had the ball back on their 25 yard line, trailing by 18 points with seven minutes to play in the game.
A personal foul penalty put the ball on the Wildcat 39. A fourth down quarterback sack turned the ball over on downs. Knox County’s defense stopped the home team on downs again.
Knox County had three long pass plays late in the game and moved the football to the Slater 20.
Dylan Morgret had a 29 yard catch, Tristan Lonberger hauled in a 28 yard pass and Lucas Hudson caught an 11 yard pass, all from Keenan Gillaspy. The Eagles drew a pass interference penalty as time expired.
By rule, the game could not end on a defensive penalty. Knox County had one untimed down on the Slater ten yard line. A pass fell incomplete and Slater claimed the 18-0 victory.
Unofficial stats showed Knox County with 12 first downs to five for Slater. The Eagles rushed 37 times for 192 yards. Andy Greenley had eight carries for 85 yards. Lucas Hudson rushed 12 times for 55 yards. Keenan Gillaspy rushed 14 times for 34 net yards. Davin York had three attempts for 18 yards.
Slater had 27 rushing attempts for 165 yards. Around 100 yards of that total came on the two Wildcat offensive touchdowns. Jeremy Fizer led all rushers with 13 attempts for 148 yards and two scores. Fizer had 111 net yards in the first half.
Knox County held a 258-197 total yard advantage. Keenan Gillaspy was four for 12 unofficially for 79 yards and two interceptions. Cody Skinner was 2-4 passing for 32 yards and an interception.
Knox County lost two of their five fumbles on the night. Slater lost one of their three fumbles. Andy Greenley led the Eagles with 11 tackles. Jacob Moots and Brady Morton recorded eight Knox County tackles each according to KCHS team stats.
The Eagles travel to Brookfield for the start of their 2008 Tri-Rivers Conference schedule. Brookfield (2-1, ranked tenth in Class 2) blanked Milan by an 18-0 score in week three. The Bulldogs lost the 2008 bell game to Marceline.
Fayette shut out Marceline 13-0 and Westran beat Paris 21-15 in more week three action.
Brookfield has a big line led by Will Paahler. Senior defensive tackle Jerod Glasgow anchors the Bulldog defensive front. Wingback Dillon Devoy spearheads and effective counter running attack. Quarterback/defensive back Colby Bailey is a returning all conference and all district performer.
The Bulldogs are a good football team, but not unbeatable.
Knox County played much better overall defensively, but must keep their outside containment. Many teams struggled to put an offense together last week in wretched field conditions.
Some of the Eagle players may be pouring out too much effort to meet their own high expectations. “They are making the game harder than it needs to be,” said Knox County coach Steve Ramer. “We have our own expectations and are trying too hard to meet those expectations instead of just playing the game.”
“Right now, this team needs to pull together as a team,” said Coach Ramer. “We need the support of each other. The team needs the support of their coaches, and it needs the support of this community.”
The season is far from over despite their 0-3 record. . “If this team can pull together, we can get ready for our district. Regardless of what our record going into districts is, we can go to state.”
“Maybe the Brookfield game is what we need,” said Ramer. “We are not going in there with any high expectations. Maybe that will make us loosen up. When you look at the scores, Brookfield is not the same team they have been in the past.”
“We just need to loosen up, play the game and have fun with the game,” said Coach Ramer. “We have about five guys who do that, and another group that just seem to be too tight right now. If we play the game and have fun, we will win.”