While one might assume a football game between two 7-1 teams would be a pretty even match-up, Highland had different ideas on Friday night.
Hosting East Knox, the Scots came out quickly and never looked back in claiming a 50-7 win to improve to 8-1 overall and 6-0 in KMAC play. EK falls to 7-2, 4-2.
Highland got on the scoreboard barely 30 seconds into the game when Tate Tobin ran for a seven-yard touchdown to give his team an early 6-0 lead. That would only be the first of three first-quarter scores.
While the Bulldogs were able to move into Scot territory on their first possession, their drive stalled on the 43-yard line and they were forced to punt. The ball went into the end zone for a touchback, giving Highland possession on their 20. That field position changed quickly, though, as Brock Veley ran for 15 yards and Brody Matthews followed with a 43-yard run to give Highland a first down on the East Knox 22.
Three plays later, Veley got into the end zone on a 10-yard carry and Matthews added a two-point run, making it 14-0 at the 7:10 mark of the period. Later in the quarter, the team got the ball on their own 38 after another Bulldog punt. Facing third-and-10, Highland went back to Veley, who responded with a 62-yard sprint for six more points, giving the Scots a 20-0 lead.
“I’m real excited,” said Scot coach Chad Carpenter after the game. “We came out to a quick start and finished well. That’s what we wanted to do tonight. We did a good job starting the game quickly.”
East Knox put together a respectible drive on their next possession, moving the ball from their 42 to the Scot 18. However, they turned the ball over on downs on the first play of the second quarter and Highland didn’t waste any time making them pay. Matthews had carries of 14 and two yards and Veley ate up the rest of the distance in one 65-yard run. Quarterback Ian Taylor connected with Isaiah Stoneburner for two points and it was 28-0 with 10:51 remaining in the half.
After forcing a three-and-out to get the ball at the 9:04 mark, it barely took three minutes for the Scots to add to their advantage. A 14-yard run by Matthews combined with a Bulldog penalty moved the ball to the EK 40. Four plays later, Veley scored his fourth touchdown of the night, this time from 36 yards out. Veley added a two-point run to put the Scots up by 36.
That was how it’d remain going into the half, as Highland had a chance to score on their final possession, but time ran out in the second quarter with them holding the ball on the EK 12.
Still, with a running clock to start the third quarter, the Scots were definitely in a good position — one that got even better after they forced the Bulldogs to turn the ball over on downs on their first possession and responded with another scoring drive. This time, it was Jack Weaver doing the honors, as he dashed into the end zone from 24 yards out. Riley Kemmer added the extra point and it was 43-0.
East Knox would get on the scoreboard at the end of the third on a five-yard run by Kasson Krownapple, but that would be their only points on the night. Highland finished the game’s scorign with a six-yard run by Jon Jensen and PAT by Kemmer.
“It’s a team effort,” said Carpenter of the win. ‘The guys up front created nice holes and backs ran hard and the defense played extremely well.”
During a rainy night, the Scots outgained their opponents by a 490-134 margin, with 476 of that total coming on the ground, where the team averaged 11.6 yards per carry. Veley led the way with 222 yards on only nine rushes, while Matthews had 13 for 129 yards and Weaver added six for 90.
Up next for the Scots is a crucial battle at home with Northmor. With both teams holding 6-0 league records, the KMAC title will be decided by the contest, with Highland also looking for points to solidify a playoff berth, as they currently are holding onto seventh place in Region 14 of Division IV.
“We’ll come back in tomorrow and get better from tonight’s game and then start on Northmor Monday,” said Carpenter.
Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS