Eagles Win First Tri Rivers Football Game
By David Sharp
Donovan Edwards scored three touchdowns and Leighton McCabe had a 172 yard rushing night with two scores leading Knox County (2-1, 1-0) to a 54-6 victory over North Shelby in September 9, 2011 Tri-Rivers Conference football action.
Leighton McCabe made a great run on the Eagle’s first play from scrimmage. McCabe bounced off would be tacklers for an 85 yard scoring run. Eagle receivers blocked very well all night. Knox County controlled the line of scrimmage, getting good second level blocks.
The Raiders (0-3, 0-1) were able to move the football employing a swinging gate formation several times in the second half.
Knox County averaged 20 yards per rushing attempt. Jared Barnard scooped up a fumble and dashed 40 yards for a second quarter touchdown. Leighton McCabe knocked the football loose with a solid tackle.
The Knox County football number 10 worn by former St. Louis Cardinal punter Terry Joyce was retired at halftime.
Donovan Edwards will continue to use #10 until he graduates. After the 2013 season, the number 10 will be permanently be set aside by the KC football program.
“It was crazy,” Donovan Edwards said of the first Knox County offensive play from scrimmage. “We all blocked down field. It was a lot of fun. We didn’t play very well against Paris.”
“Our defense was strong. We worked on some new stuff on offense. It worked out.”
Donovan Edwards was asked about the significance of being the last Knox County football player to wear the only retired athletic number in school history. “It’s an honor to wear it (the number ten). (Terry Joyce) was a good athlete. After I am done with it, it’s over with.”
Knox County’s defense forced a punt on their first series. North Shelby battled the entire game despite an injury depleted 18 man football roster.
Starting quarterback Dalton Mettes was replaced by Jacob Rich. At least two other Raiders missed the game due to injury.
North Shelby mounted a gritty 43 yard drive to the Knox County 11 yard line. The Eagles stopped the visiting Raiders on downs. The Eagles executed a sound read option to the Raider side of Ella Campbell Field.
Leighton McCabe raced 84 yards for his second touchdown in as many carries. McCabe scored his first touchdown with 7:15 remaining in the first half. Donovan Edwards ran in the two point conversion for an 8-0 lead.
Knox County was 6-7 on two point conversions on the night. The KCHS varsity offense was perfect on conversions. Leighton McCabe ran in the extra point on touchdown number two with 1:56 showing on the first quarter clock. Knox County led by a 16-0 margin.
“It was an 85 yard run, but it was probably a 450 yard run,” Leighton McCabe said when asked to describe his opening score. “I think everyone cut across the field at least three times.”
The determined scoring dash was probably the best high school running play this reporter has witnessed. “I was told it was 33 seconds long. Early in the game, our linemen were really getting out to the second level and blocking,” Leighton McCabe said.
“Good things and long touchdowns are going to happen if they keep blocking down the field like that. We toughened up on defense after their first drive,” McCabe told the Edina Sentinel.
“We wanted the ball back. Our defense pretty much stepped it up the rest of the game,” Leighton McCabe said. “I was proud of our defense. We forced a fumble and an interception. They didn’t score until the end of the game.”
North Shelby was able to sustain drives but could not finish. Knox County led 16-0 after one quarter. Colton Danger whacked a 45 yard punt to the North Shelby 35 yard line.
Leighton McCabe knocked the football free. Jared Barnard picked up the pigskin and raced 40 yards for a Knox County touchdown at the 7:55 mark of the second period. Leighton McCabe ran in the two point conversion for a 24-0 lead.
Sharri Edwards intercepted his second pass in as many games, setting up a short field chance on the Raider 30 yard line with 6:30 showing on the first half clock.
Donovan Edwards finished the drive with a five yard touchdown run with four minutes to play in the second quarter. Jon Harder lined up at fullback and ran in the two point conversion for a 32-0 lead.
Knox County bottled up the Raiders deep in their territory. Jacob Rich did a great job getting a punt away after a low snap from center. Knox County had a great chance to put the game on ice.
The Eagles gained possession on the North Shelby 23 yard line with 2:28 to play in the half. North Shelby stepped up defensively and stopped Knox County on downs at the NS 13 yard line.
North Shelby ran out the remaining 57 seconds for a 32-0 Knox County halftime lead. North Shelby had seven first downs to five unofficially in the first half.
Knox County had a 207-92 total yards from scrimmage edge at the half. All the Knox County yards came on the ground. North Shelby had a five yard pass play. The Raiders were 1-5 passing in the first half with an interception against. Knox County was 0-3 passing in the first two quarters.
Knox County recovered an onside kick starting off the second half. The Eagles cashed a 49 yard drive when Donovan Edwards ran 12 yards for a KCHS touchdown at the 10:43 mark of the third quarter. Leighton McCabe ran in the two point conversion for a 40-0 lead.
The fifth unanswered Knox County touchdown and two point conversion sent the clock into motion by the Missouri Mercy Rule. The Raiders effectively used a swinging gate formation for a 28 and then a 20 yard play.
North Shelby moved the football some 65 yards to the Eagle 14 yard line. Knox County stopped the march before North Shelby could score.
Donovan Edwards raced 70 yards down the Knox County sideline for his third touchdown on the night at the 3:19 mark of period number three. Donovan Edwards ran in the two point conversion for a 48-0 lead.
A penalty helped stall North Shelby’s subsequent drive. A short punt set the Eagles up on the North Shelby 19 yard line. The KC junior varsity offense entered the game near the close of the third quarter.
Brody Moubry scored for Knox County on a 23 yard run at the 9:24 mark of the fourth quarter. The two point run failed and Knox County led 54-0. Michael Orr ran the following kickoff back 39 yards to the Eagle 48 yard line.
Wade Kemp scored for North Shelby with 22 seconds to play in the game. The two point run failed, leaving the score 54-6 in favor of Knox County. The Eagles finished with 17 carries for 340 yards as a team.
Donovan Edwards rushed five times for 92 yards and three touchdowns. Leighton McCabe finished with six carries for 172 yards and two touchdowns. Chance Tungate had two carries for 40 yards.
Brody Moubry had two rushes for 29 yards and a touchdown. Skylar Thompson had two carries for seven Knox County yards.
Leighton McCabe was 1-4 passing for 38 yards. Jared Barnard had the Eagle pass reception. Knox County was flagged five times for 50 yards. Knox County had 11 first downs on the night.
Andrew Hunolt got on a Knox County fumble. Hunolt, Barnard and Jon Harder were among several Eagle defensive standouts.
North Shelby rushed 43 times for 180 yards unofficially. Derek Johnson led the Raiders with 15 attempts for 76 unofficial yards. Tyler Kirby had 14 carries for 52 yards.
Jacob Rich was 2-11 passing for 16 yards and an interception against. Michael Orr had a ten yard catch. Dakota Daughtery hauled in a six yard aerial. The Raiders had three penalties for 15 yards and 14 first downs.
Derek Johnson had a quarterback sack for North Shelby with an 11 yard loss. Jacob Rich punted four times for a 25.75 yard average. Knox County hosts Fayette in week four. North Shelby takes on unbeaten Milan.
“We really challenged our offensive and defensive lines this week,” Knox County coach Alex VanDelft said. “The game rested in their hands. Our lines did a great job of opening lanes for our linebackers and running backs to make some big plays.”
Alex VanDelft talked about Leighton McCabe’s first touchdown run. “It was something I have never seen before,” said the former all state Macon High School football player and Truman State University football man.”
“He broke a lot of tackles and made some great cuts,” Coach VanDelft said. “It was impressive. Leighton is a great athlete. Donovan Edwards is a great young player. He is playing beyond his years.”
“Going into tonight’s game, (Donovan Edwards) averaged 20 yards a carry,” Coach VanDelft said. “It was obvious he needed to have the ball more. Three touchdowns is a great night.”
“For our defense to be good, we are going to have to force turnovers and score on defense,” Alex VanDelft said. “They did a great job of causing turnovers. Jared Barnard had a scoop and score. He has good hands and a nose for the football.”
“Sharri Edwards has played in two games and has two interceptions. He took the ball back to the five yard line, but we had a block in the back penalty. We are doing a good job on defense, but we need to stop the run a little better.”