Indiana takes control in 2nd half to beat Knoch
Last year, Knoch defeated Indiana to eliminate the Indians from the WPIAL playoff race.
The tables were turned this year as Indiana exploded for three second-half touchdowns Friday to knock the Knights from playoff contention 28-7.
After Knoch tied the score with 59 seconds left in the half, Indiana started the third period by moving 68 yards in four plays to take control of the game.
DaQuan West carried the ball for 97 yards, and Ian Scott added 92 yards for an Indiana attack that accumulated 253 yards in the second half.
The Indians (3-5, 3-4) need to defeat Hollidaysburg in the regular-season finale Friday to secure a Class AAA playoff spot.
The Knights (3-5, 2-5) were attempting to make the playoffs a school-record fifth consecutive time.
West, who carried one time for no yards in the first half, picked up his game considerably in third quarter, gaining 73 yards in three plays and scoring on a 14-yard run after Indiana quarterback Sean Thompson was thrown for a 5-yard loss on the previous play.
“We did some things that we corrected in the second half,” Indians coach Mark Zilinskas said. “We had to slant to another way because we had trouble with their nose guard (Sam Whalen) in the first half.”
Knoch went into the wildcat formation with tailback Cody Milsom taking the snaps.
The Knights drove to the Indiana 21 then later to the Indians 3 but were turned back each time.
“That was the tale of the game,” Knights coach Mike King said. “You have to capitalize on those drives and put it in the end zone. That's been a problem. There has to be some resolve; there can't be penalties in critical situations.”
After an interception by Jake Zilinskas gave Indiana possession at their 24, the Indians rolled 76 yards in four plays, with Scott taking a pitch left 41 yards to put Indiana in front 21-7 with 3:52 left in the third quarter.
From the Indiana 5, defensive end Darrious Cater, a Temple University recruit, pulled Milsom's elbow and the ball came loose.
Scott recovered the fumble, and the Indians drove 95 yards in 11 plays, with Jordan Casses scoring an insurance touchdown from 14 yards.
“We knew Knoch's the kind of team that will fight you to the end,” Coach Zilinskas said. “We had to get back on track after losing to Greensburg (Salem).”
Milsom was the workhorse for the Knights, collecting 154 yards on 33 carries.
“Cody's got a lot of guts and courage,” King said. “He internalizes these losses, and he knows what it takes to win.”
Dan Farinelli, who directed Knoch's scoring drive late in the half, threw for 114 yards.
Knoch's biggest gain of the night was a 40-yard run on a fake punt by Jim Larimer in the second period.
George Guido is a freelance writer.