Knoch Knights use goal line stand to secure victory
HOLLIDAYSBURG — In a game that featured more than 100 plays on offense, it was four plays that will be remembered most in Knoch's 23-17 win over Hollidaysburg on Friday night
“That is what great football games are made of,” said Knoch coach Mike King, whose club stopped the Tigers four times from the 1-yard line in the fourth quarter with a little over 4:06 to go in the game.
“I told our guys it should have never come down to that. We just made so many mistakes,” Hollidaysburg coach Homer DeLattre said.
Trailing 22-17, Holidaysburg used a 27-yard kickoff return by Dan Baker to begin a drive at its 42.
During a 16-play drive, on third-and-10, Tigers quarterback Caleb Parnell escaped the Knights' rush to heave a pass down the left sideline, which fell incomplete. However, Knoch was called for pass interference on the play, giving Hollidaysburg a first down.
Behind the running of Jericho Hilling, Tyler Miller and Parnell, Hollidaysburg set up on the 1-yard line. Four straight runs, three to Hilling and one to Reid Miller, were stopped by the Knoch defense.
“You've got to get in the end zone. When you're at the goal line, you've got to get in. In practice, we ran three inside cones this week and you move the ball from the 3 to the 2 to the 1,” DeLattre said. “I think it was more of an effort issue. They wanted it more than us.”
King said he believes his defensive staff had his unit prepped for those four plays.
“Our coaches do a great job of knowing the team and their formation. We had a beat on them. Our kids were comfortable with what was going on,” he said.
Said DeLattre: “You've got to want it more. You've got to have it internally in you to get them off the ball down there and get into the end zone and we didn't do that.”
“Our defense rose to the occasion,” King said. “That shows character. That shows that our kids were not going to quit. I was so proud of the way they played at the end.
Knoch (3-1) had to stop the Tigers one final time when it punted the ball with 2:26 to play. One sack and three incomplete passes later, the Tigers were done while the Knights were able to line up in the victory formation.
Scott Franco is a freelance writer.