HOWARD – Two county rivals will go head-to-head on Friday night in a game that will carry serious KMAC title race and playoff implications.
East Knox (6-0, 3-0 KMAC) will host Centerburg (4-2, 2-1) in what may very well be the ‘Game of the Year’ in the Knox Morrow Athletic Conference. East Knox is one game ahead of Centerburg in the conference standings, and both would be playoff-bound if the postseason began today, according to the latest regional rankings.
The Bulldogs are riding high after beating Northmor (5-1, 2-1) on the road last Friday, 41-0. The Bulldogs led 27-0 at halftime and never looked back. Senior running back Caleb Gallwitz scored four touchdowns, bringing his season total to 26. Quarterback Kadden Lester threw 18-of-22 for 130 yards and a touchdown. East Knox racked up 478 yards of total offense, while holding Northmor to just 167.
East Knox is scoring 48 points per game this season, while giving up just 6. The Bulldogs are currently ranked third in Div. VI Region 22 and 14th in the latest AP state poll.
A win Friday would give East Knox victories over Centerburg, Northmor and Highland, which are all tied for second place in the conference. East Knox’s remaining schedule consists of Cardington (1-5), Mount Gilead (2-4) and Danville (1-5). The Bulldogs are hunting for their first KMAC championship and their first playoff berth since 2005.
Centerburg, meanwhile, will be carrying similar momentum into this week’s matchup. The Trojans have won their last two games by a combined 64 points, including a 43-point win over Danville in Week 5. In their four wins this season, Centerburg has given up just 6 points per game.
Sophomore quarterback Jack Gregory has thrown for 671 yards, seven touchdowns and five interceptions in four starts. Junior tailback Donnell Marshall has led the team with 600 rushing yards (6.1 per carry) and seven touchdowns, while fullback Trey Kendrick has muscled in 284 yards and four touchdowns. Marshall and receiver Jarred Rings each have 14 catches to their name.
The Trojans are ranked eighth in Div. VI Region 22. A win Friday would increase their playoff chances and move them into a tie for first place in the KMAC with East Knox (Centerburg would hold the tiebreaker, if the season were to finish that way). Centerburg is seeking its first KMAC title and its first playoff berth since 2016.
Reporter Grant Pepper spoke with players and coaches from each team heading into this week's game – from East Knox: head coach Cody Reese, senior lineman Treyton Slone and senior tailback Caleb Gallwitz; from Centerburg: head coach Andy Colella, junior tailback Donnell Marshall and junior fullback Trey Kendrick.
Kickoff will be at 7 p.m. Friday from Chet Looney Stadium.
» Centerburg (4-2, 2-1) at East Knox (6-0, 3-0) | Trojans, Bulldogs tangle in pivotal KMAC matchup
» Northmor (5-1, 2-1) at Cardington (1-5, 1-2) | Golden Knights look to get back on track after blowout loss to East Knox
» Highland (2-4, 2-1) vs. Mount Gilead (2-4, 1-2) | After slow start, Scots aim for third straight win
» Fredericktown (1-5, 0-3) vs. Danville (1-5, 1-2) | Freddies seek first KMAC win on Homecoming Night
» Mansfield Senior (6-0, 2-0) vs. Ashland (2-4, 2-0) | Upstart Arrows look to crash Tygers' party
» Mount Vernon (4-2, 1-1) at Wooster (3-3, 3-0) | Yellow Jackets look to get back on track after two straight losses
» West Holmes (2-4, 1-2) vs. Lexington (1-5, 0-3) | Minutemen aim to stop bleeding after five straight losses
» Madison Comprehensive (0-6, 0-3) vs. Marion Harding (2-4) | With losing streak at 13 games, Rams seek much-needed victory