Knoch blanks powerful Mars
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Knoch rebounded from a pair of close, disheartening defeats by shutting out one of the top offensive teams in the WPIAL.
The Knights, ranked No. 10 in Class AAA by Trib Total Media, shocked No. 4 and previously undefeated Mars, 21-0, Friday night in a Greater Allegheny Conference matchup at Mars Athletic Complex.
Knoch (5-2, 4-2) limited Mars to 150 yards and recorded six sacks. Mars (6-1, 5-1) entered the contest averaging 44.2 points per game.
“I can't say enough about our defense,” Knoch coach Mike King said. “Defensive coordinator Frank Whalen had a great game plan. That was the key, holding their offense. Everybody did a great job.”
Knoch's offensive attack was led by senior running back Ben Tackett, who rushed for 195 yards and three touchdowns on 28 carries and caught two passes for 50 yards.
Mars sophomore running back Josh Schultheis, one of the leading rushers in the WPIAL, was held to 72 yards on 17 attempts. Schultheis surpassed the 1,000-yard mark for the season but didn't add to his total of 19 scores.
“They didn't do anything differently on defense,” Mars coach Scott Heinhauer said. “I have to hand it to Knoch. They were just the more physical team.”
Knoch also got strong offensive contributions from senior quarterback Dakota Bruggeman, who completed 5 of 8 passes for 79 yards, and senior tight end Luke Kroneberg, who had three receptions for 29 yards.
Bruggeman connected with Kroneberg on a two-point conversion for Knoch's final points. That followed a 1-yard touchdown run by Tackett with 8:09 left.
That score was set up by a stand by Knoch's defense. Trailing 13-0, Mars faced a fourth-and-1 at its 15-yard line. But Knoch's defensive line and linebackers stuffed Schultheis for no gain.
Late in the first quarter, Knoch drove for a first-and-goal at the 5, but Bruggeman was hurt on the previous play and temporarily left the game. Tackett lined up at quarterback, took the shotgun snap and pushed ahead for a touchdown. Sophomore Logan Tupper's extra point gave the Knights an early 7-0 edge.
Tackett struck again with an 80-yard touchdown sprint with 1:45 left before halftime, but the extra-point was missed.
Paul Kogut is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.