By David Sharp
Knox County’s defense stopped a power laden Brookfield offense on downs in the first series of the Eagles’ Tri-Rivers Conference opener at Brookfield. The Eagles made plays with an 11 yard quarterback sack and a 56 yard punt by Keenan Gillaspy.
Brady Morton recovered a Bulldog fumble on the home team’s 23 yard line, setting up Cameron Kirmse for a rocketing 33 yard field goal with 53 seconds to play in the first quarter and a 3-0 Eagle lead.
Reality set in during a responding four play 56 yard touchdown drive, taking less than a minute. Brookfield (3-1, 3-0) capitalized on short field situations and KCHS mental mistakes for a 40-9 victory.
Knox County (0-4, 0-1) played better than in the previous two weeks, but turned the ball over too many times to beat a good team. The Eagles improved their blocking and tackling, but lost containment on several plays including an 80 yard touchdown dash by Aaron Sprouse in the third quarter.
The Eagles finally had their team healthy. Cameron Kirmse took several snaps at wide receiver. Dennis Dent had an 11 tackle, two quarterback night on defense.
Brookfield led 6-3 after the first quarter. The Bulldogs wound up scoring five consecutive touchdowns before Tristan Lonberger capped a 68 yard drive with a touchdown at the 4:06 mark of the fourth quarter. Both varsity teams played the entire game.
Tristan Lonberger displayed a lion hearted effort in his first varsity game at running back. The Eagles utilized a wing I formation and ran 36 times for 185 yards unofficially. Tristan Lonberger rushed 17 times for 131 yards and a touchdown. Lonberger also had a 74 yard kick return.
“Not taking anything away from Brookfield. They won the game. I would still like to get beat,” said Knox County coach Steve Ramer. “I would like to get beat instead of having five turnovers, and having them at crucial times.”
“We know what we have to do,” said Ramer. “It’s time for somebody to step up and do it. You can’t give up long passes in third down and long passing situations. On third and eight, you know the wing counter is coming and you can’t just give it up. You can’t jump off sides on third and one. Our goal is to get beat one game, and not beat ourselves.”
Knox County stopped Brookfield several times defensively. The Eagles were driving, down 6-3 in the second quarter when Nathan Bennett intercepted an overthrown pass and returned the football to the Eagle 34 yard line.
Jacob Buckallew scored the first of two Brookfield short field touchdowns on a six yard run at the 5:10 mark of the second quarter. Aaron Sprouse ran in the two point conversion for a 14-3 Bulldog lead.
The Eagles pulled out all the stops trying to beat Brookfield at Burlington Field. A fake punt failed and Brookfield had the ball on the KCHS 29 yard line with three minutes to play in the first half.
Austin Lindsey connected with Dillon Devoy, who made a great catch of a 27 yard pass with 2:11 remaining in the first half. Nathan Bennett’s run gave Brookfield a 22-3 lead.
Knox County moved the ball on their final series of the first half from their 32 yard line into Brookfield territory. The Eagles overcame a seven yard sack by Spencer Gordon with Keenan Gillaspy’s first down run.
Dillon Devoy picked off a pass on his ten yard line as time expired in the first half. Andy Greenley made one of his team leading 16 tackles, saving a touchdown on the KCHS 30 yard line.
Brookfield held a 22-3 halftime lead. The Eagles had four first downs to an unofficial ten for Brookfield in the first two quarters. Knox County rushed 19 times for 72 first half yards to a 15-93 home team performance. Brookfield held an 83-41 yard passing advantage.
Knox County’s inability to stop the Brookfield passing game was another determining factor. Brookfield took the second half kick and drove from the Eagle 42 yard line to the Knox County four. The Eagles tried an on side kick that did not go the requisite ten yards.
Andy Greenley and Jacob Moots combined for a quarterback sack, shoving the ball back to the 24 yard line. Brookfield faced a fourth and 24. A pass fell incomplete and the Eagle defense held. Keenan Gillaspy punted to the Eagle 44 after the team could not move the ball.
Dennis Dent recovered a fumble at midfield. A penalty on third and one pushed the ball back to third and six yards to go. Brookfield took the football back on downs.
Dennis Dent recorded a 14 yard quarterback sack. Brookfield was able to overcome the play when Ryan Falconer hauled in a nine yard touchdown pass from Austin Lindsey with 8:17 remaining in the fourth quarter. The two point run failed and Brookfield led 28-3.
Tristan Lonberger broke free on the ensuing kickoff and returned the ball 74 yards to the Brookfield ten yard line. Jamil Gardner did not give up on the play and stripped the ball away for a fumble. Gardner recovered the ball on the Brookfield 11 yard line.
Aaron Sprouse took advantage of a probable missed assignment and raced around his left end for an 80 yard touchdown run.
Knox County moved the ball well on the ground. Tristan Lonberger scored pulling Knox County within a 34-9 deficit with 4:06 to play in the game.
Brookfield worked on their passing game and capped scoring with a 23 yard touchdown pass from Austin Lindsay to Ryan Falconer with 1:38 to play in the game. The two point pass failed and Brookfield took the 40-9 victory.
Brookfield ended the game with 17 unofficial first downs to 12 for the Eagles. Keenan Gillaspy rushed seven times for 28 yards. Andy Greenley carried seven times for 19 yards. Lucas Hudson had three rushes for seven yards. Mitchell Penn had two rushing attempts for no net yards.
Brookfield’s official rushing stats showed 40 carries for 221 yards. Aaron Sprouse led the Bulldogs with nine tries for 107 yards and a touchdown. The Bulldogs torched the Eagle defense for 162 passing yards. Austin Lindsay went 12-19 with no interceptions and three touchdowns. Ryan Falconer had three catches for 34 yards and two scores.
Keenan Gillaspy was 3-12 for 49 yards and two picks. Dennis Dent had two catches for 23 yards. Lucas Hudson had a 26 yard reception unofficially.
Keenan Kite recorded 14 tackles, backing up Andy Greenley’s 16 tackle effort. Dennis Dent had 11 tackles and two sacks. Jacob Moots had ten tackles. David Hinkle had eight tackles. Reporter’s notes showed an 11 yard quarterback sack by Hinkle on the first Brookfield series of downs.
Dennis Dent and Brady Morton had KCHS fumble recoveries. Knox County lost three fumbles and recovered two of their own. Brookfield fumbled four times, losing two.
Knox County hosts unbeaten and third ranked Clark County on September 26. The Indians are led by Knox County R-I alum Matt Smith. Clark County features at least two Division I players.
Running back and defensive back Javis Vineyard. The senior won a 2007 fourth place Class 2 medal in the 100 meter dash.
Michael Brennan plays offensive and defensive line for Clark County. Brennan was part of the Indians state medal winning 4X100 and 4x200m relay teams. He also qualified for the state track meet in the shot put along with being an all conference basketball player.
Ethan Allen leads an explosive spread option attack. Milan scored the only touchdown Clark County has allowed this season with a third quarter drive. The Indians beat Milan 46-7 and whipped Palmyra 52-0 last week.