In a game of big plays, East Knox made the last one as they edged Northmor 32-28 and spoiled their hosts’ Homecoming.
Northmor held a 21-20 lead entering the fourth quarter, but were able to increase that advantage to an eight-point margin with only seven minutes to play in the game after quarterback Demetrius “Meechie” Johnson called his own number and dashed 57 yards for a score, breaking multiple Bulldog tackle attempts in the process. Kyle Kegley added his fourth point-after kick of the night to give the Knights a 28-20 advantage.
That lead would not hold up long, though, as the Bulldogs rallied to get a 63-yard touchdown pass from Kadden Lester to Kasson Krownapple. They would miss a two-point conversion, but were within a two-point margin with only 6:07 to play.
Northmor had to punt on their next possession, but their defense came up big, forcing two incompletions, a pass that netted zero yards and, then, an incompletion on a fake punt attempt.
That final play got them the ball on the EK 20 with 3:34 to play. However, after two Johnson carries netted seven yards, the next two plays resulted in only two yards to give the ball back to the Bulldogs.
East Knox wasted no time in going down the field, as Lester fired a pass to Ethan Beckett, who took the ball into the end zone for an 89-yard touchdown to give his team the lead. Northmor had one more chance with the ball, but after Johnson connected with Wyatt Reeder for 33 yards to put the ball on the Knight 41, the drive stalled and ended with an interception.
“They made one more play than we did,” said Knight coach Scott Armrose. “We knew it was a good football team. They’re a big play team and we’re a big play team. Every time we did something big, they came back and countered it.”
For much of the game, Northmor relied on big plays. After their first two drives ended in turnovers, they got on the scoreboard at the 2:06 mark of the opening period, as Johnson ran for a 66-yard touchdown, giving them a 7-0 lead.
“When you do the things Meechie does, turnovers will be part of it,” Armrose said of those early miscues. “I wouldn’t give up any part of his game. He takes a lot of hits and when you do, turnovers will be part of it.”
Johnson continued to make big plays for the Knights. After East Knox scored on the first play of the second quarter to get within a 7-6 margin, both he and Conan Becker had eight-yard runs before Johnson scrambled for a 39-yard touchdown.
East Knox got within a 14-12 margin by halftime, though, as Caleb Gallwitz hauled in a 30-yard scoring pass from Lester. The Bulldogs then opened the second half with a 34-yard pass from Lester to Gage Steinmetz to take their first lead of the night at 18-14, which they increased to a six-point margin after a two-point pass from Lester to Gallwitz.
Northmor would immediately rally from that setback, though. Johnson opened the drive with a 12-yard scramble and then added runs of 12 and 15 yards. After a nine-yard run by Becker, Johnson carried it again for a 27-yard touchdown. Kegley’s extra point brought the Knights back in front by one point.
However, after they got their lead back up to an eight-point margin, the Bulldogs were able to rally for those two late scores to drop the local team’s record to 6-2, 3-2 in league play. In the contest, Northmor had 436 yards, 385 of which came on the ground. Johnson ran for 323 of that total, while Becker added 55.
Armrose noted that after a tough loss, all his team can do is rally to put forth a strong effort against Mount Gilead, mentioning his squad has already shown they can bounce back from hard-fought defeats.
“We lost a heartbreaker to Danville and the kids put it behind them and did great against Cardington,” he said.
Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS