By John Stepp For The Endzone
“For the first time this season, we played a complete game.”
Those were the words of Knox Central Panthers’ Football Coach Scott Russell after his team rolled to an easy 47-16 win over the visiting Clay County Tigers.
It’s the second win in a row for Russell’s squad, after dropping back-to-back games for the first time since 2009. While the Panthers improved to 5-2 on the season, Russell knows that his squad has still not reached their potential, but saw flashes of it against the Tigers.
“It was an important game for us. We’ve played in spurts here and there this year. We’ve come out and played well early or started out slow and turned it on,” said Russell. “This is what you want to have once district time comes around. You want your team to start out good and then just continue throughout the ball game. I feel like we pushed the pedal to the metal this week and took care of them early.”
The Panthers relied heavily on their ground game to get the win. Knox Central racked up 333 yards on the ground, with four different players rushing for over 60 yards and scoring touchdowns.
Senior running back Jonathan Gist led the Panthers with 105 yards and three rushing touchdowns. Quarterback Matthew Barger added 83 yards and a touchdown, while running backs Jeremy Stewart and Jacob Mills finished up with 64 and 60 yards, respectively, with one touchdown apiece.
“(Gist) G’s one of those players who wants to show you that he can play. He had a problem with his shoulder last week, so we let that rest a little bit this week, but he showed that he is still around,” said Russell. “The biggest thing that we got out of last week is that we had other players step up.”
The Panthers’ offense was not the only reason for their domination of the Tigers, though. The Knox Central defense shut down Clay County in every facet of the game, limiting them to just one offensive touchdown.
“We done a lot of work this week. We changed the personnel up just a little bit and have some kids going both ways, but they did a great job,” said Russell. “We told our kids, ‘Listen, if you do your job and do what you’re supposed to do, then we’re going to stop people. But if you start doing your own thing, that’s when they’re going to gash you.’ I was proud of the way they played, especially up front this week.”
Knox Central got off to a hot start to open the game, marching their opening drive 65 yards to a Barger one-yard touchdown, to take a 6-0 lead. After forcing the Tigers to punt three plays later, Barger returned the kick 60-yards for his second score. Barger then found wide receiver Jeffrey Adams on the two-point conversion that made the score 14-0 with 5:13 left in the first quarter.
Gist took over in the second quarter, scoring three touchdowns. He opened the quarter with a two-yard run, pushing the Panthers’ lead to 20-0. After a 19-yard touchdown run by Mills, Gist scored two more times, and extended the Knox Central lead to 40-0 heading into halftime.
The Tigers would score their first touchdown of the night to open second half, as Sam Carr scored with 3:48 remaining in the third quarter. Clay County’s other touchdown came off an Arnold Arnett kickoff return.
The teams played to a running clock the entire second half, as the Panthers kept a commanding lead for the duration of the game.
With the win, the Knox Central improves to 1-0 in district play and will be off next week, before traveling to Rockcastle County on Oct. 18.
Panthers dominate during 31-point home win over Clay County
By John Stepp For The Endzone
- Local Sports
The Williamsburg Yellow Jackets are partying like it's 1987! That was the last time the Jackets won a game in the 13th Region Tournament, and they ended the 27-year drought with a 47-44 win over the heavily-favored Knox Central Panthers on Thursday night.
Les Dixon's Daily Region Pick'Em
When it comes to picking region tournament games, it’s not an easy task to say the least. This is the most parity that I’ve ever seen in the 13th Region Boys and Girls Tournaments.
If Clay County’s play during the first game of the 13th Region Tournament is any indication of things to come, Robert Marcum’s squad could be well on its way of capturing their second straight 13th Region championship.
The Way it is
Since I’m picking Corbin to pull off the upset against Jackson County today, I figured I’d give my top five upsets dating back to 2005-06 when the 13th realigned and welcomed both North and South Laurel high schools to the mix.
Tony Pietrowski’s Corbin Redhounds have been favored during the past two first round 13th Region match-ups, and have been upset both times. Corbin is hoping things might change a bit this time around.
Barbourville will have hands full against Bell County today
Dinky Phipps’ Barbourville Tigers are looking for their first 13th Region Tournament win dating back to 2006’s tournament when they defeated Clay County in the regional semifinals.
Like It or Not
There’s an elephant in the room at this year’s 13th Region Tournament, and really in basketball in general, and I guess I’ll be the first one to point it out (publicly with my name attached to it).
Chris' Daily Region Pick'Em
With the first three days of opening round games in the books, I can honestly say I'm not surprised that I'm 4-2 overall when it comes to my pick'ems record.
You can never count out the Clay County Lady Tigers when it comes to the 13th Region Tournament.
Les Dixon's Daily Region Pick'em
After going just .500 during the girls games, things are going to get even tougher when it comes to picking the 13th Region Boys Tournament games.
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