Second Half Surge Leads Rams To District Crown
By David Sharp
Knox County took a 16-7 lead late in the first half of the final District 10 football game at Schuyler County.
Schuyler County scored three unanswered touchdowns for a 29-16 victory. The Rams (6-4, 4-1 in the conference) earned their first football district championship since 2005.
Seniors Nathan Goodwin, Brady Morton, Brandon Baird, Davin York, Damon Hemmerling, Rick Hayes, Cameron Morford, Ben Delaney, Cody Simmons, and Justin Reeves played their final football game for the Eagles.
Unbeaten district champion Schuyler County hosts Paris in the Class 1 football Regionals on Wednesday, November 3 at 7PM. Scotland County claimed second place with their 2-1 district record.
The Tigers travel to fifth ranked South Shelby November 3 in area Regional football action.
Knox County (3-7) finished third in the district with a 1-2 mark. Schuyler County and Putnam County shared the 2010 Tri-Rivers Conference championship by virtue of Milan’s 19-14 week ten win over Putnam County.
The Eagles were fifth in the final conference standings with a 1-4 TRC record. Scotland County and Milan tied for second place with 3-2 conference records. North Shelby was sixth with an 0-5 conference record.
“It was a game of two halves. The first half was the best of our entire year,” Knox County head football coach Alex VanDelft said. “We came out and dominated the line of scrimmage. Our running backs ran hard.”
“Our receivers blocked down the field. We basically did what we needed to do,” Coach VanDelft told the Edina Sentinel. “We had some negative plays on special teams and some penalties that let them back to 13 points.”
“They made some great adjustments in the second half. They started throwing the ball a little bit more,” Alex VanDelft said. “We weren’t getting much pressure. With an athlete like (Tim) Gorman, he is going to start making plays.”
“He did an outstanding job of hitting receivers in stride,” said the first year Eagle coach. “He made it happen.”
Kellen Gillaspy finished a three yard run at the 7:51 mark of the first quarter. Leighton McCabe’s two point run gave Knox County an eight point advantage.
Schuyler County answered with a one yard Tim Gorman touchdown run with 10:50 remaining in the first half. Gorman kicked the extra point, trimming the Eagle lead to 8-7.
Knox County scored again just before intermission for a 16-7 lead. Damon Hemmerling ran the football in from nine yards out with 61 seconds remaining in the second period. Davin York ran in the two point conversion for the nine point edge.
Schuyler County raced down the field for a key touchdown. Tim Gorman found Aaron Fowler for a 24 yard touchdown pass with 44.5 seconds to play in the half. The two point conversion was no good, leaving the score at 16-13 Knox County at halftime.
Schuyler County executed their spread offense better in the second half. The Rams were able to give Tim Gorman time to throw the football.
Knox County’s defense was able to hold the lead until Tim Gorman ran the ball in from two yards out with 41 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
Tim Gorman ran in the two pointer for a 21-16 Ram lead. Schuyler County was able to slow down the Eagle running attack in the second half. Both sides turned the football over two times during the contest. Both Eagle turnovers were lost fumbles in the first half.
Justin Reeves had a quarterback sack. Jared Barnard and Nathan Goodwin had fumble recoveries.
Damon Hemmerling led the Eagles with 14 tackles. Nathan Goodwin and Cameron Morford had 12 tackles each. Colton Macomber set a Schuyler County school record with a game high 21 tackles.
The Rams put the game on ice with a four yard Dakota Schmitter touchdown run at the 4:28 mark of the final period. Tim Gorman passed to Aaron Fowler for the two point conversion and a 29-16 Schuyler County lead.
The Rams held a 16-12 unofficial first down advantage. Schuyler County rushed 40 times for 196 yards.
Dakota Schmitter had 19 attempts for 119 yards and a touchdown. Tim Gorman rushed for 79 yards on 20 tries. Tim Gorman was 11-18 passing for 125 yards and a touchdown.
Knox County rushed 45 times for 195 yards by official Knox County stats. Leighton McCabe had 14 rushing attempts for 72 yards. McCabe also had 22 yards receiving.
Damon Hemmerling was 18 for 67 yards rushing with a touchdown. Kellen Gillaspy was 13-55 yards rushing and a touchdown. Davin York rushed two times for five yards.
Kellen Gillaspy was 4-7 passing for 70 yards. Nathan Goodwin led the Eagles with 31 receiving yards. Justin Reeves had a 17 yard catch. Thanks Donnie Middleton and Alan Middleton of KMEM radio for Schuyler County stats.
“Schuyler County has a great team. We had our best effort all year long,” Alex VanDelft said. “It was fun to watch us get better from game to game. I just wish we could have found our identity earlier.”
“We wanted to run the ball, play good defense and stop the run,” Coach VanDelft said. “I am proud of them.”
The defending Regional champion Eagles made huge strides from the beginning of their 2010 campaign to the close of their season. “We had to step up. This class never really had to lead the team before,” said senior linebacker Cameron Morford.
“It took us seven games to figure out what to do, but once we did we really improved each game,” Cameron Morford said. “I told our seniors that they will never know just how much I learned from them,” said Alex VanDelft.
“They had a wide range of abilities. This was my first year with them. It took us awhile to learn how to use their ability,” Alex VanDelft said. I apologized to them for that. They were a great group to work with.”
“I was a first year head coach. I didn’t have to fight any issues with control or anything like that. They were a dream to work with. I had fun working with them.”