KNOX COUNTY – The regular season hit its halfway point on Friday night, and two county schools emerged victorious; East Knox weathered a closer-than-usual first half to conquer Cardington-Lincoln, while Fredericktown broke into the win column in a rout of Mount Gilead.
Meanwhile, Mount Vernon fell to 0-2 in the OCC, Centerburg was handled by local foe Highland, and Danville fell to 0-5 in a road loss to undefeated Northmor.
But those are just the headlines. Here’s how each game unfolded on Friday night:
East Knox 47
Coming into Friday night’s game, East Knox (5-0, 2-0 KMAC) had outscored its first four opponents 168-16 in the first half. Cardington-Lincoln (0-5, 0-2 KMAC) bucked that trend, as the Pirates hung 17 on the Bulldogs before intermission.
East Knox led by 10 going into the locker room. For the first time all season, the Bulldogs would have to play the majority of the second half without a running clock.
East Knox responded in the second half, however, as the Bulldog defense pitched a shutout and senior running back Kasson Krownapple recorded three touchdowns to lead the Bulldogs to a 30-point win. East Knox nearly eclipsed the 50-point mark for the fifth time this season, falling three points short.
Krownapple ran for 127 yards on 17 carries on Friday night, including his three second-half scores. Bulldog quarterback Kadden Lester turned in another stellar performance, going 10-of-17 passing for 332 yards and three touchdowns. Gage Steinmetz, Weston Melick and Krownapple all caught touchdown passes on Friday night.
Cardington-Lincoln was led by quarterback Nate Hickman, who went 7-of-19 passing for 166 yards and two touchdowns. Mason Goers led the Pirates in rushing (92 yards) and receiving (73 yards) against the Bulldogs.
Mount Vernon 13
Mount Vernon (2-3, 0-2 OCC) kept things close through one half of play at Ashland (4-1, 1-0 OCC) on Friday night. The score was knotted at 6-6 heading into halftime after a goal-line stand by the Yellow Jacket defense.
But the second half was a different story, as Ashland quarterback Mitch Heilman used his arm and his legs to slowly pry apart the Mount Vernon defense. Ashland scored twice in the third quarter and three more times in the fourth while the Yellow Jacket offense stalled. Heilman completed 18 of his 29 passes for 248 yards and a touchdown, while also running for 86 yards (72 in the second half) and a score.
Heilman accounted for 334 of Ashland’s 384 yards on Friday night, as Mount Vernon simply couldn’t contain the elusive, dual-threat talent in the second half.
Meanwhile, Mount Vernon’s offensive struggles continued for the second straight week, as its talented tailback duo of Ashton Fisher and Wyatt Gregory combined for just 47 yards (and only five yards in the second half). After terrorizing opposing defenses in non-conference play, the duo has totaled just 84 yards over the last two weeks.
Quarterback Noah Hubbard went 23-of-36 passing for 203 yards and two touchdowns on Friday night, although he also had three turnovers (two interceptions and one fumble). The Arrows scored their last two touchdowns on defense, as they ran back an interception and ran in a fumble recovery in the fourth quarter to put the icing on the cake.
In a battle of local rivals (less than seven miles separate the two schools), Highland (4-1, 2-0 KMAC) dominated Centerburg (3-2, 1-1 KMAC) for four quarters on Friday night.
The Scots jumped out to a 24-6 lead before lightning delayed the game near the end of the second quarter. The break couldn't stop Highland's momentum, however, as the Scots scored twice in the third quarter and the clock ran from there.
Highland’s four-pronged rushing attack proved to be too much for Centerburg’s defense, as the Scots racked up 408 ground yards on Friday night. Fullback Tate Tobin scored three times and tallied 120 yards, while tailback Brock Veley led the Scots with 129 rushing yards and an early touchdown. Brody Matthews added 79 yards and a score, while Jack Weaver rounded out the quartet with 31 rushing yards.
Centerburg’s potent offensive attack, led by dual-threat quarterback John Sheasby, was held in check all night. Sheasby scored on a five-yard touchdown scamper late in the first half, but he was held to -13 rushing yards (on 23 carries) and 21 passing yards (on 6-of-7 passing) for the night.
The Trojan offense was held to just 91 total yards, averaging 1.9 yards per play.
Mount Gilead 8
Fredericktown (1-4, 1-1 KMAC) acquired its first win of the season on Friday night at home against Mount Gilead (0-5, 0-2 KMAC). The Freddies took a 10-point lead into halftime and kept their foot on the gas in the second half, pounding Mount Gilead in a running-clock affair.
The Fredericktown offense, which had scored just 29 total points through its first four games, cranked out 39 points and 399 yards against the Indians. Quarterback Terry Fearn led a balanced Freddie attack, completing 12 of his 20 passes for 216 yards and two touchdowns. Tailback John Robbins also pitched in 165 yards on 12 carries (13.8 yards per carry) and two scores.
On the other side of the ball, a Freddie defense that had allowed 44 points per game coming into Friday night held Mount Gilead to a scoreless second half. The Indians tallied 270 yards of total offense and scored once all night, when quarterback Nathan Rodgers found Aaron Baer for a 60-yard touchdown completion midway through the first quarter.
Fredericktown held Mount Gilead to just 37 rushing yards on 20 attempts. The Freddies also picked off three Mount Gilead passes on Friday night.
Mount Gilead’s losing streak ran to 17 games, as the Indians have not won since October 14, 2016.
Northmor (5-0, 2-0 KMAC) dominated a Knox County opponent for the second straight week, as the Golden Knights held Danville (0-5, 0-2 KMAC) scoreless until the 2:24 mark in the fourth quarter on Friday night.
Without leading rusher Chris Greenawalt, Danville was held to just 107 ground yards on 22 carries. The Blue Devils’ lone score came on a 12-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Dalton David to wideout Alex Holt late in the fourth quarter.
David went 14-of-26 for 100 passing yards on Friday night.
Northmor, meanwhile, seemingly got whatever it wanted offensively. The Golden Knights tallied 365 total yards against a physical Danville defense, as they took a 28-0 halftime lead.
Northmor played clean football, recording no turnovers and just one penalty. The Golden Knights put forth a balanced offensive attack, passing for 204 yards and rushing for 161.
Quarterback Hunter Mariotti completed 17 of his 20 passes, including a 3-yard touchdown strike to Cole Dille late in the second quarter. Tailback Conor Becker ran for 173 yards on 31 carries, scoring three red-zone touchdowns.
Highland’s old-school scheme… The Scots don’t overcomplicate things. 16th-year head coach Chad Carpenter lines up three tailbacks behind quarterback Ian Taylor and effectively tells opposing defenses, ‘Try to stop us.’ So far, no one in the KMAC has come close to doing so. The Scots have rushed for 629 yards over the first two weeks of conference play, punishing Danville and Centerburg in the trenches. Their four-back system of Veley, Tobin, Matthews and Weaver has terrorized opposing defenses this season, as Highland has won its last four games by an average of 29 points per contest. And here’s the scary part: this quartet might not be stopped for quite a while. Highland plays two winless teams in its next three games before facing East Knox and Northmor in weeks 9 and 10, respectively.
The East Knox offense… Yes, the Bulldogs gave up 17 points this week (which would be fine by most teams' standards, but actually doubled their opposing point total through five weeks). But one thing’s for certain about this East Knox team: they come ready to play offensively every single week. Quarterback Kadden Lester has thrown for 1,383 yards, 11 touchdowns and no interceptions this season. Running back Kasson Krownapple has ran for 750 yards and 18 touchdowns on 42 carries (that’s 17.8 yards per carry). They are scoring an average of 55 points per game and nearly eclipsed the 50-point mark for the fifth straight week on Friday night, coming three points short. The question: Can anyone stop these guys? We’ll find out soon enough. The Bulldogs’ first five opponents currently have a combined record of 2-23, while their last five opponents have a combined record of 13-12. East Knox will play undefeated Northmor in Week 7 and Highland in Week 9.
Northmor RB Conor Becker… The tailback has torn up Knox County defenses over the last two weeks, running for 246 yards and two touchdowns against Fredericktown in Week 4 and 173 yards and three touchdowns against Danville on Friday night. He will likely have another big game this week, when a winless Cardington-Lincoln team comes to town. One matchup to circle for the Golden Knights will be Week 10, when Becker and the bruising Northmor offensive line face the conference’s best run defense (so far) in Highland.
1. East Knox (2-0, 5-0)
1. Northmor (2-0, 5-0)
1. Highland (2-0, 4-1)
2. Centerburg (1-1, 3-2)
2. Fredericktown (1-1, 1-4)
3. Cardington-Lincoln (0-2, 0-5)
3. Danville (0-2, 0-5)
3. Mount Gilead (0-2, 0-5)
Week 6 matchups:
- Fredericktown (1-4) at Danville (0-5) – 7 p.m.
- East Knox (5-0) at Centerburg (3-2) – 7 p.m.
- Highland (4-1) at Mount Gilead (0-5) – 7 p.m.
- Cardington-Lincoln (0-5) at Northmor (5-0) – 7 p.m.
1. West Holmes (2-0, 5-0)
1. Wooster (2-0, 3-2)
2. Ashland (1-0, 4-1)
3. Lexington (1-1, 1-4)
4. Mansfield Senior (0-1, 2-3)
5. Mount Vernon (0-2, 2-3)
5. Madison (0-2, 1-4)
Week 5 scoreboard:
- West Holmes beat Madison, 68-13
- Wooster beat Lexington, 42-17
- Ashland beat Mount Vernon, 42-13
- Maple Heights beat Mansfield Senior, 38-14*
Week 6 matchups:
- West Holmes (5-0) at Wooster (3-2) – 7 p.m.
- Ashland (4-1) at Madison (1-4) – 7 p.m.
- Lexington (1-4) at Mansfield Senior (2-3) – 7 p.m.
- Zanesville (3-2) at Mount Vernon (2-3) – 7 p.m.*