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Knoch shuts out Ringgold

| Saturday, Sept. 9, 2006

Knoch did a good job of forgetting its loss to Montour last week.

The Knights responded with a dominating performance against Ringgold (0-0, 0-2) on Friday night at Knoch Knights Stadium.

Knoch beat Ringgold, 34-0, behind the running attack of Alex Whisler and Justin McGowan, who combined for 202 yards and four touchdowns. Whisler had 127 yards on 17 carries and three touchdowns, while McGowan had a touchdown and 75 yards on 10 carries.

Whisler set the tone for Knoch (0-0, 1-1) early. He intercepted Ringgold quarterback Jordan Fowler's first pass of the game, setting up a 5-yard touchdown run for McGowan.

"It was a big play for our defense," Knoch coach Mike King said. "It was [Whisler's] first time starting as a strong safety and he comes up with that interception. You can't ask for anything more."

Fowler rebounded on the next drive, however, eluding Knoch tacklers on a 30-yard run that set Ringgold up in Knoch territory for the first time in the game.

Whisler set the tone for Knoch again, and topped Fowler's run at the end of the first half.

Whisler's 48-yard run set up Knoch's third touchdown of the first half, which he scored from 8 yards out, to put the Rams up, 20-0. He had 81 first-half rushing yards.

Both teams entered yesterday's game in search of their first win of the season. Ringgold lost at home to Indiana, 13-10, and Knoch fell at Montour, 34-6.

The Knights relied heavily on their running attack.

McGowan broke through the Ringgold defense on his way to a 28-yard gain that highlighted Knoch's second touchdown drive. Whisler punched it in from 2 yards out.

Despite the controlled passing game, Knoch quarterback Zach Gross, who replaces the graduated Jordan Shoop, looked sharp, completing 3-of-4 passes for 21 yards.

"I'm really happy for Zach Gross," King said. "Zach had about as tough an opening week as any quarterback I've ever coached. It really says a lot for his focus to deliver the ball the way he did tonight."

Whisler built the Knoch lead to 28-0 with a 4-yard touchdown run midway through the third quarter. A 33-yard pass from Gross to Kyle Reiser highlighted the drive.

Ringgold responded with a 52-yard kickoff return from Kyle Fisher-Law. In synch with the tone of the night, though, the Rams came up 1 yard short on fourth down and the drive stalled.

Knoch completed the scoring early in the fourth quarter after a 27-yard run by Timothy McNerney. Gross scored from 1-yard out.

Fisher-Law rushed for 35 yards on 15 carries, while Fowler completed 7-of-17 attempts for 36 yards and an interception.

"We didn't do a very good job of maintaining our blocks," Ringgold coach Steve Campos said. "We didn't get a push."

Both Knoch and Ringgold open their conference schedules next week. Knoch stays home to face Greensburg Salem, while Ringgold travels to Mt. Pleasant.

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