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Second Half Surge Scorches Eagles
By David Sharp
Knox County came out of the gate and dominated the first quarter, and the opening seven minutes of their September 18, 2009 varsity football encounter with perennial Tri-Rivers Conference powerhouse Brookfield.
The Eagles ran the ball down the Bulldog’s throats, much like Brookfield teams have done to opponents for the last 50 years.
The much-anticipated match turned when Austin Lindsay broke free for a 42 yard run late in the first half.
The potential firecracker game exploded in the home team’s hand when Brookfield (3-1, 3-0 in the conference) scored 41 unanswered points and ran away with a 41-6 victory.
The Eagles (2-2, 0-1) played as poorly in the second half as they did well in the first. Knox County turned the football over four times, twice with fumbles and a pair of Mitchell Ayers interceptions. Brookfield lost two fumbles. Nathan Goodwin picked up the ball on the Eagle 41 yard line in the first half.
Knox County stopped Brookfield’s JV from another likely touchdown with a fumble recovery on their 11 yard line in the fourth quarter. Mitchell Ayers picked off a Brady Morton pass and returned the ball 30 yards stalling a promising drive.
Knox County’s defense played very well early in the game. Four of Brookfield’s first eight offensive plays were turned back for negative yards. Brookfield made good use of their vertical passing game in the latter stage of period two and in the second half.
Brookfield missed at least four possible touchdowns on errant passes. The Eagles allowed Brookfield receivers to get behind them, resulting in 37 and 36-yard touchdown passes.
The Eagles forced Brookfield to punt on their first series of downs. Knox County took the football on their 40 yard line. Strong defensive play gave Knox County good field position early on.
Knox County overcame a ten yard holding penalty and methodically drove the football to the Brookfield five yard line. Cameron Kirmse raced around left end on a wingback counter for a five yard touchdown scamper at the 3:51 mark of the first quarter.
The Eagles held the football over six minutes on their scoring drive. Knox County forced Brookfield into a third and 12 situation on their 35 yard line during the second Brookfield set of downs. The Eagles forced another punt.
Knox County had good field position on their 47 yard line. Brookfield stiffened defensively. Mitchell Ayers picked off a Keenan Gillaspy pass, thwarting the KC drive on the Bulldog 24 yard line.
Nathan Goodwin fell on a fumble on the Eagle 41 yard line. Tristan Lonberger hauled in a 27 yard pass from Keenan Gillaspy to the Brookfield 16 yard line leading by six points.
Knox County drove the football inside the Bulldog five yard line again. The Bulldogs mounted a goal line stand, stopping Keenan Gillaspy on the Brookfield one yard line.
Sophomore Derek Scates boomed a 51 yard punt out of his end zone. Knox County was forced to punt. The Eagles were unable to sustain drives from this point on. Knox County’s inability to take time off the clock from the five minute mark of the first half on was a pivotal factor in the outcome.
Brookfield took possession at midfield with 5:09 to play in period two trailing by a 6-0 score. Knox County had a high snap on their extra point try.
Bulldog quarterback Austin Lindsay broke free for a 42 yard run to the Eagle eight yard line. Knox County stood firm, forcing a fourth down gamble. Lindsay broke a tackle in the backfield and raced around right end for the score. The five yard run was at the 2:19 mark of the second quarter.
The conversion kick failed and the score was tied at six. Knox County had a quick three and out on their next series. Brookfield took the ball on their 38 yard line with 64 seconds to play until halftime.
Brookfield raced to the Eagle 37 yard line. Austin Lindsay found a streaking Levi Henderson on a fly pattern for a touchdown pass with 33 seconds showing on the second quarter clock. Josh Torrez kicked the extra point for a 13-6 Brookfield lead.
Knox County took the football from their 38 yard line to the Bulldog 28. Cameron Kirmse tried a 45 yard field goal with 5.5 seconds remaining in first half. The kick had a chance distance wise, but sailed wide to the right. The half ended with Brookfield leading 13-6.
Big plays were the difference in the first half, and ultimately in the game. Knox County had nine first downs to six for Brookfield in the first half. The Eagles rushed 26 times for 100 first half yards. Brookfield was 14-80 rushing and 2-8for 58 yards and a touchdown during the first half. Knox County was 3-7 for 54 passing yards and an interception.
Brookfield made halftime adjustments along their defensive front. The Bulldogs wound up with four quarterback sacks to none for Knox County. Brookfield defenders were often in the Eagle backfield before ball handlers could make plays.
Knox County punted on their first second half series. Brookfield executed a crisp 65 yard touchdown drive. Jacob Buckallew ran the ball in from two yards out at the 8:37 mark of the third quarter. Josh Torrez’ kick gave Brookfield a 20-6 advantage.
he Brookfield touchdown was the first of four scores in a five minute and 15 second third quarter span. Heavy defensive pressure from the Brookfield front wall forced a KC punt.
Brookfield took the ball on the Eagle 32 yard line. Mike McCollom scored on a 13 yard run with 5:25 to play in the third quarter. Brookfield recovered a squib kick on the Eagle 36 yard line.
Austin Lindsay fired a 36 yard strike to Blake Williams on the first play after the KCHS kickoff turnover. Brookfield led 34-6 with 5:17 to play in the third quarter.
A Bulldog defender knifed through the Eagle offensive front and caused a fumble. Mike McCollom picked the ball up and raced about 15 yards for a Brookfield touchdown.
Josh Torrez turned what was a close game a few minutes earlier to a continuous clock rout. Brookfield led 41-6. Ethan Harmon picked up another Knox County fumble on the Brookfield 36 yard line.
David Hinkle recovered a Brookfield fumble on the Eagle 11 yard line. There was no further scoring and Brookfield claimed the 41-6 victory. The Eagles were held to 27 yards rushing in the second half, finishing with 40 team carries for 127 unofficial yards.
Brady Morton led the Eagles in rushing with 13 attempts for 49 yards. Tristan Lonberger was 7-28 on the ground. Cameron Kirmse was 7-27 yards with a touchdown. Keenan Gillaspy rushed 12 times for 22 gross yards. The Eagles lost 28 yards on quarterback sacks.
Knox County passed 12 times with five completions and two interceptions for 91 yards. Cameron Kirmse had three receptions for 55 yards. Tristan Lonberger caught two balls for 36 yards. The Eagles finished with 13 first downs, four in the second half.
The Eagles were penalized three times for 20 yards. Keenan Gillaspy punted three times for a 32 yard average. Brookfield rushed 29 times for 229 yards unofficially. Austin Lindsay led the way with 12 carries for 69 yards and a rushing touchdown.
Lindsay was 3-10 passing for 76 yards and two touchdowns. Brookfield had two penalties for 20 yards. Brookfield recorded 12 first downs in the contest.
“I thought our kids did not show up ready to play,” said Brookfield coach Nile Thudium. “We came out flat. This is a greatly improved Knox County team. They have a core group of kids that are playing awfully hard. We were fortunate to wake up and get things going offensively or it could have been a long night for us.”
“We have a tendency to line up with three undersized linemen,” said Coach Thudium of his team’s second half defensive adjustments. They took it right at us because of that. Our coaching staff did a great job of adjusting and putting more down linemen on the line.”
“Fortunately our kids just started to play harder,” said Nile Thudium. “Once we got that stop (the first half Brookfield goal line stand), the momentum seemed to change. Had they put that in, it could have been a totally different ball game.”
“We said before the game that we were going to face adversity sometime during the game,” said Knox County head coach Steve Ramer. “We said that how we respond after that adversity was going to be the tell tale of how this game was going to go.”
“We didn’t respond well to adversity. We didn’t show much heart in the second half,” said Coach Ramer. “That’s what it came down to. When the going got tough, we didn’t do very well wiping our tail off and getting up and back to work.”
“As a coaching staff, we have to find a way to find guys that will play with heart. If we don’t find guys that will do their job and play with heart, next week will be the same result. We kept it pretty simple, you have find that guy and cover that guy.”
“We knew Brookfield was going to run go routes. We had our guys back 15 yards. We have to do a better job of understanding, or find guys that can understand that.”
Defending Class 2 state champion Clark County is unbeaten on the season. The Indians are coached by Knox County R-I graduate Matt Smith. Clark County is a complete football team with three, 300 pound linemen.
Steve Ramer commented on the Eagles’ upcoming contest. “We had better be ready to play better there than we did tonight, or we are going to get our (tails) kicked,”