By Les Dixon / Sports Editor
LEXINGTON CATHOLIC — Knox Central’s best season in school history came to an end in dismal fashion, as Lexington Catholic handed the Panthers their worst loss of the season on Friday, 35-6, during second round action of the Class 4A playoffs.
Knox Central (10-2) didn’t have an answer for the Knights’ healthy dose of throwing and running the ball, as Lexington Catholic (10-2) outgained the Panthers, 359-331, in total offense. By the time Scottie Russell’s squad finally got on the scoreboard during the last play of the game (Jonathan Gist 19-yard touchdown reception), the Knights had already built a commanding 35-0 lead.
“We just came out flat,” Knox Central coach Scottie Russell said. “Any time you end the season without a state championship, it’s disappointing. I know we’re a better team than the final score showed, but we just didn’t get the job done.
The Panthers could never get their "Ground and Pound” running attack going, as Jeffrey Canady was limited to 27 yards rushing on 12 carries, while Gist finished with 96 yards on the ground.
“They did a very good job stopping our run game,” Russell said. “We knew they would stack the box, but we just couldn’t get anything going. We just had too many turnovers and couldn’t execute on offense in the end.”
After seeing their first offensive series stall at the Lexington Catholic 13-yard line, Canady saw his punt attempt blocked and the Knights took advantage by scoring on a third and 10 situation, as quarterback Reese Ryan connected with Marcells Logan from 16-yards out for a touchdown to give Lexington Catholic a 7-0 edge at the 9:47 mark of the first quarter.
The Knights got back on the scoreboard on their ensuing drive, and saw their lead extend to 10-0, as Bobby Jacoby connected with a 46-yard field goal with 2:43 remaining in the first quarter.
Knox Central finally got things going on offense during its third possession of the game by driving all the way to Lexington Catholic’s 18-yard line, but two penalties and a six-yard loss by Devon Evans stalled the Panther drive out at the Knight 28-yard line.
It didn’t take Lexington Catholic long to capitalize, as the Knights drove to the Knox Central 15-yard line, and Jacoby connected with his second field goal of the game (32-yarder), giving his team a 13-0 edge with 7:35 remaining in the first half.
Knox Central continued to be its own worst enemy on its ensuing drive, as Evans was picked off by Casey Nash, as the Knights scored two plays later on a 12-yard touchdown run by Amoh Kumengisa while watching their lead grow to 21-0 with 5:59 left in the second quarter.
The Panthers had a chance to get some momentum as Evans broke off a 19-yard run, while two pass interference calls moved them to the Lexington Catholic six-yard line with :04.5 remaining in the first half. Knox Central couldn’t reach paydirt, though, as Evans pass fell to the ground to end the first half.
Russell’s squad couldn’t get anything going in the first half on offense, as the Knights outgained Knox Central, 173-131, while limiting Canady to only six yards rushing on five carries.
Lexington Catholic erased any doubt of a Knox Central comeback by scoring just two minutes into the third quarter to take a commanding 28-0 edge behind Logan’s four-yard touchdown run.
The Knights continued their domination by turning another Panther miscue on offense into points. Knox Central failed to convert on a fourth and two situation and Lexington Catholic scored minutes later, as Logan’s third touchdown of the game (four-yarder) increased his team’s lead to 35-0 with 3:39 left in the third quarter.
Knox Central was knocking on the door to begin the fourth quarter, but a turnover at the Knight two-yard line summed up the day for the Panther offense.