Rams Turn Tables On Eagles With Big Plays
By David Sharp
Knox County has been scoring points and winning football games with big plays on both sides of the ball.
Schuyler County hit the Eagles with five scoring runs of 41 yards or more in a 34-16 Schuyler County Homecoming game win.
All conference running back Dakota Schmitter out rushed the Knox County team with 19 attempts for an unofficial 259 yards and three touchdowns. Dalton Shively carried 11 times for 94 yards and two Schuyler County touchdowns.
Schuyler County (1-4, 1-0) has played one of the area’s tougher schedules to date. The Rams took on three of the top ranked teams in the Lewis and Clark Conference. Milan handed the Rams a 34-0 loss.
Marceline was ranked in the state when they played and beat Schuyler County. Salisbury and defending Class 1 state runner up Westran are currently state ranked. Milan is favored by many to win the 2011 conference championship.
Dakota Schmitter broke tackles and raced 84 yards for a Schuyler County touchdown on the first possession of the night. Jared Barnard blocked the extra point kick, leaving the score at 6-0 Rams at the 11:05 mark of the first quarter.
Knox County mounted an impressive 58 yard touchdown drive on their first possession of the game.
Donovan Edwards raced ten yards around right end with 6:57 remaining in the first quarter. Donovan Edwards ran in the two point conversion for an 8-6 Eagle lead.
The Eagles stopped Schuyler County three and out, forcing a punt. Knox County (3-2, 1-1) was controlling the line of scrimmage. Jon Harder rolled 25 yards from the fullback position.
Knox County drove to the Ram 3 yard line. Schuyler County kept the Eagles out of the end zone. Knox County had the ball in the red zone four times during the game and failed to score.
Schuyler County lined up in a modern day version of a power I right. Dakota Schmitter raced through a gaping hole and scored on an 88 yard run at the 11:07 mark of the second quarter. Dalton Shively ran in the two point conversion for a 14-6 Ram lead.
Knox County regained possession on their 35 yard line. The Eagles fumbled an option play handoff. Dakota Schmitter recovered for Schuyler County. Sharri Edwards intercepted a Dalton Shively pass.
The Eagles promptly fumbled the football back to the Rams on their 49 yard line. Credit the defense for stripping away the pigskin. Missed tackles and good Schuyler County blocking paved the way for another long touchdown run.
Dakota Schmitter raced 48 yards for a touchdown. Momentum shifted to the home team with 7:41 showing on the first half clock. The two point pass failed, leaving Schuyler County ahead by a 20-8 margin.
Schuyler County closed down Knox County running lanes. The Rams pressured quarterback Leighton McCabe on a consistent basis. Garrett Wilson and Dalton Shively sacked McCabe, setting up a punting situation.
Dalton Shively capped a 65 yard drive with a 41 yard dash at the 1:49 mark of the first half. Dakota Schmitter ran in the two point conversion for a 28-8 halftime lead.
The Eagles drove the football to the Ram three yard line at the end of the half and failed to score.
Knox County had more unofficial first downs at 7-5 at the half. The Rams held a 270 to 120 yard halftime rushing advantage on ten fewer plays. Poor Knox County tackling and Schuyler County taking over the line of scrimmage added up to a 20 point halftime deficit.
Knox County was favored by as many as 28 points by some area pundits. The Eagles took advantage of a recovered on side kick attempt at midfield starting off the second half.
Leighton McCabe hooked up with Sharri Edwards for a 37 yard pass completion. Donovan Edwards scored his second touchdown on the night at the 8:57 mark of the third quarter. Jon Harder ran in the two point conversion for a 28-16 Ram lead.
Knox County had an opportunity to get back in the game when Chance Tungate recovered a fumble, setting Knox County up on the Schuyler County 30 yard line.
Schuyler County made two tackles for losses. Dalton Shively made a great second half defensive play, knocking a probably touchdown pass away from Sharri Edwards near the Schuyler County 20 yard line.
The Ram defense took the ball away on downs with around five minutes to play in the third quarter. Knox County appeared to have Schuyler County stopped defensively.
Dakota Schmitter took a fake punt 29 yards for a first down. The Eagles didn’t appear to wrap up on tackles, allowing Schmitter to race 49 yards for another touchdown at the 2:29 mark of the third quarter. The two point run failed for a 34-16 Schuyler County lead.
Schuyler County started controlling the line of scrimmage. The Rams needed this game badly to avoid being 0-5 on the season and down two games in the conference standings.
“Our offense was able to get some momentum which we haven’t had for awhile,” Schuyler County coach Jason Melnick said. “It was nice to see them capitalize on their turnovers.”
“They had a nice drive and scored on us. We were able to take advantage of those two fumbles to jump out and get the lead. We knew Leighton McCabe was their meal ticket. We have some kids with speed. We were able to use that against Knox’s offense.”
The Rams threw Knox County for an eight yard loss. Colton Danger whacked a 45 yard punt. Knox County forced a Justin Season punt back to the Eagle 38 yard line early in the fourth quarter.
Knox County had four losses on running plays in their next drive. Knox County returned the favor defensively. Jon Harder and Jared Barnard had tackles for losses.
The Eagles drove from their 38 yard line with 6:44 to play in the game deep into Schuyler County territory. Leighton McCabe had a 16 yard first down run. The Eagles appeared to drop a touchdown pass in the end zone on fourth down.
Knox County had another chance to score when Colton Danger recovered a fumble on the Ram 24 yard line. Dustin Ruth recorded a big quarterback sack. Jared Barnard had a 13 yard pass reception.
The Eagles appeared to drop another probable touchdown pass in the end zone with 1:29 remaining in the football game. The Eagles missed too many opportunities and too many tackles to beat an under rated football team on their field.
Knox County will need to win at Putnam County next week to avoid possibly entering district play with a sub .500 record after a 3-1 start. “Our defense thrives on causing turnovers. We had one interception and two fumble recoveries. We had some drives going and fumbled the ball three times in the first half,” Knox County coach Alex VanDelft said.
“They scored off our turnovers. You just can’t spot a team like Schuyler County 20 points and expect to win at the end. “We talk about the little things adding up to the big things.”
“We had guys being a step late, not getting off a block here and there. Those little things added up to big runs tonight,” Alex VanDelft said. “They are going to have a learning experience when they watch the tape tomorrow.”
“I just hope they learn from this and don’t do it again,” Coach VanDelft said. Knox County had a balanced attack with 141 yards rushing and 118 yards passing.
Sharri Edwards had two catches for 57 yards to lead all receivers. Jesse Miller had a 23 yard catch. Chance Tungate led in receptions with three for 20 yards. Knox County had an unofficial 14-11 advantage in first downs. The Eagles had four penalties for 20 yards.
Donovan Edwards led Knox County with 15 carries for 68 yards and two touchdowns. Leighton McCabe rushed 17 times for 39 yards not counting quarterback sacks. Schuyler County had two sacks for -23 yards unofficially.
Colton Danger punted three times for a 38 yard average. Leighton McCabe had a 34 yard punt. Knox County fumbled three times losing two. Colton Danger and Chance Tungate had Eagle fumble recoveries unofficially. Jon Harder led the Eagles with nine tackles.
Schuyler County had 30 rushing attempts for 353 unofficial yards and five scores. Dalton Shively went 3-4 passing for 32 yards and an interception against. Schuyler County had eight penalties for 75 yards unofficially. Tad Anderson had two receptions for 26 yards. Dustin Ruth had the other catch.
Justin Seaton punted three times for a 32 yard average. “It doesn’t get any easier from here. It just gets harder,” Alex VanDelft said about his next two games.
“We play three of the better teams in the conference coming up. Our guys understand that tonight was unacceptable and that they need to improve.”