HOWARD -- The East Knox football team has developed a habit -- of winning postseason football games.
The second-seeded Bulldogs enjoyed a long playoff run last fall, and have begun a similar path this autumn. It started Friday night with a 20-6, come-from-behind victory over No. 15-seed Toronto in the Division VII, Region 27 bracket.
GALLERY: Toronto at East Knox (Div. VII Region 27 second round)
East Knox defeated Toronto, 20-6, on Friday night in the second round of the Div. VII playoffs. (Photos by Kelly Schwartz/Get Your Game On)
East Knox will take a 6-1 record into next week's home game against No. 7 seed Shadyside (4-3). The Tigers knocked off No. 10 seed New Matamoris Frontier 48-14 last night.
However, reaching the next round wasn't easy for coach Cody Reese's club.
Toronto broke away from a scoreless first quarter to take a 6-0 halftime edge on Garrett Dozier's 1-yard TD plunge early in the second period. The PAT was blocked (something the Bulldogs did in their last outing for the winning margin against arch-rival Danville in the Devil-Dog Game).
This time East Knox dominated the second-half action to advance.
Midway through the third quarter, Weston Mellick's 2-yard touchdown blast tied the game at 6-6.
Shane Knepp's 14-yard scoring bolt put the Dogs on top for the first time, and Mellick's PAT made it 13-6 with 11:51 showing in the fourth period. Freshman Cole Delaughder crashed in from a yard away and Mellick's PAT finished it with 2:39 to play.
The Red Knights reached this game by thumping Tuscarawas Central Catholic 26-12 last week. In that contest, Dozier rushed for 183 yards and three touchdowns on 20 carries. Toronto piled up 418 yards of total offense, including 301 yards on the ground.
But the Bulldogs' defense proved a much tougher challenge. East Knox intercepted three passes and allowed only 38 yards in the air. Mellick topped the tackle chart, followed by Braden Kannady and Blake Bonham.
Dozier still spearheaded the Red Devils's offense with 101 yards on 28 carries. His effectiveness running the ball allowed Toronto to earn a 27:47 to 20:13 advantage in time of possession.
Yet East Knox got the best of the statistical battle, and eventually the game.
Quarterback Peyton Lester completed 5-of-11 passes for 100 yards. Delaughder ran for 131 yards on 23 carries and Mellick had 73 yards on two catches.
The Bulldogs had more first downs (17-13), yards rushing (188-167), yards passing (100-38) and total offense (288-205).
Toronto drops to 4-4 overall.