Late scores lead Hampton past Knoch
It's not a full-blown identity crisis, but Knoch is having trouble finding its personality five weeks into the season.
Knoch ran the ball, fired 31 passes downfield and even went to the Wildcat formation on Friday night, but could not produce enough points in a 20-9 loss to Hampton in a Class AAA Greater Allegheny Conference game at Knoch Knights Stadium.
“That's the problem, we're five weeks in,” said Knoch coach Mike King, who tried using two quarterbacks early in the season. “You look at the Steelers and see how their still trying to find an identity. We have to find ourselves. You see flashes of what we can do, but flashes don't get it done.”
Hampton (3-2, 2-2) scored twice in the fourth quarter to pull away from Knoch (3-2, 2-2) on its homecoming night.
First-year quarterback Nick Grabowski threw for 193 yards, including a key, 43-yard hookup with Jon Floss that set up his 16-yard scoring pass to Eddie Edwards that put Hampton ahead, 13-9, with 3:10 to play.
“With Hampton's big-play ability, you have to be able to score points,” King said. “I could say with complete confidence coming into this game that we needed at least 21 points, three scores, to have a chance.”
Grabowski, who along with Floss intercepted a pass, also ran for a score. He was 11 of 21 for 193 yards. Floss caught three passes for 90 yards.
Talbots running back C.J. Arch, who rushed for 65 yards, scored the insurance touchdown with 16.3 seconds left following a Knoch four-and-out.
“(Grabowski) wasn't even expected to be our quarterback,” Hampton coach Jacque DeMatteo said. “We had some kids who didn't come out for the team. We knew this would be another slugfest. It was a great team effort on our part.”
Knoch was far from inefficient. Running back Cody Milsom ran for 94 yards and Farinelli threw for 149, completing 11 of 31 with two interceptions.
His 20-yard strike to Jim Larrimer gave the Knights a 9-7 lead with 5:45 to go.
He found a rhythm with tight end Sean Daugherty, who caught four passes for 74 yards.
Knoch, which recovered a fumble late in the third, scored after coming up empty on downs when a lengthy, 20-play drive ended at the Talbots' 8.
But Grabowski settled things. He went down the left sideline to Floss, who was shaken up on the play, for the 43-yarder on third down. Edwards also grabbed a short gainer before Grabowski rolled right and found him in the back of the end zone.
The two-point conversion run was no good, but Hampton didn't need it.
“We have to pick up the pieces, learn from this and move on,” King said. “It doesn't get any easier from here, though.”
Knoch's other highlights:
• The Knights took a 3-0 lead into halftime on a 19-yard field goal by Logan Tupper with 1.7 seconds left in the second quarter.
• Hampton moved the ball well in the first half against a defense that came in allowing just 82 yards per game. But its longest drive before the half was disrupted by a 14-yard sack by Adam Albert.
• Larrimer, Knoch's punter, pinned the Talbots at their own 3- and 2-yard line on back-to-back kicks in the first quarter.
• Knoch's Ben Lowery scooped up a first-half fumble.
Bill Beckner Jr. is the local sports editor of the Valley News Dispatch. Reach him at email@example.com.