Knights meet defeat at hands of ‘09 champs
Going into Friday’s game at Williamstown, Tyler Consolidated knew it would be a rough environment to start the season.
After all, the Yellowjackets were opening the season at home after winning a state championship in football, the first in the school’s history. While the hosts came away with a 45-14 victory, it was easily a tale of two halves.
When the Silver Knights won the toss and elected to receive, Williamstown found out it was in for more of a fight than they may have originally thought.
Starting on their own 23 yard line, Tyler Consolidated shocked the Williamstown crowd by easily moving the ball through the air on a couple of big passes from Jordan Smith to Brody Northcraft. Before the ‘Jackets knew what hit them, the Knights were threatening just outside the red zone on the opposite 23 yard line.
Williamstown’s defense started to buckle down, but a screen pass to Corey Lowe put the Knights just inside the 7 yard line. After a run by Nate Taylor took the ball to the three, another Taylor run off the right side gave the visitors a quick 7-0 lead once the point after touchdown was added by Spencer Kinnard.
The ensuing drive by the Yellowjackets almost mimicked that of the Silver Knights, utilizing the air attack to drive into Tyler territory. The Knights’ defense eventually held up leading to a field goal by Joe Palm making the score 7-3 to end the first quarter.
The passing trend continued with Williamstown striking the scoreboard next with a 19-yard touchdown through the air at 4:48 in the second quarter and giving them a 10-7 advantage.
The Silver Knights would answer in a big way, this time with Jordan Smith rolling left on a bootleg and catching Taylor on a long pass in stride. The 200 meter sprint champion then used his speed to distance himself from the two Williamstown defenders and take it to the house. Kinnard was true once again on the point after and gave the Knights a 14-10 advantage.
Unfortunately, being in the lead would be short lived. The Yellowjackets scored two more touchdowns on long passes of 48 and 54 yards in the last few minutes of the half to go into the break with a 24-14 advantage.
“Football is a game of momentum. We had a lot of momentum in that first quarter,” said Head Coach Rob Caldwell. “We took the ball and went down and scored. We had a little momentum, a little excitement, a little dance in our step, we were feeling pretty good about ourselves.
“We preach all week on offense you have to take care of the football. You can’t turn the ball over. That’s a momentum changer. On defense you have to eliminate the big plays. That’s a momentum changer. There late in that first half you saw two big plays they got on two long passes that changed the momentum. That was a big difference in the game.”
The second of the aforementioned scores came with fewer than 30 seconds left in the half. If that put the proverbial cut in the sails, the second half kick off took the wind out of it as Williamstown’s Cody Britton returned it to the 1 yard line.
A touchdown by Joe Palm put the score at 31-14. Williamstown added a couple of more scores through the rest of the game to set up the final score of 45-14.
One problem Tyler Consolidated’s offense had was the absence of Northcraft in the second half allowing Williamstown’s defense to focus more on Smith and Taylor.
The offense continued to sputter and was unable to gain any momentum back for the rest of the game.
“It was hot and humid and we had players going out,” said Caldwell. “I told the team after the game football is a game of four quarters. You have to go all out in practice to get yourself in game shape. I think a lot of guys today realize that.
“We had some guys cramping up and throwing up. We were missing a few bodies out there and it was helter skelter on the sideline for a while making sure we had the right personnel. I give our young kids credit though. They got in there and they knew what they were doing which shows me they know what they were doing in practice.”
The offense was 11 of 20 passing for 209 yards with most them coming from Smith. He was 7 of 13 in the first half with 167 yards. Lowe stepped in at quarterback and completed a couple passes as well during the second half.
“He looked good today at times,” said Caldwell of Smith. “I think they were kind of stacked up there to stop Nate running the ball, and when they do that you’ve got to be able to throw the ball. Jordan stepped up and did pretty well, especially early in the game.”
His favorite target early on was Northcraft who finished with three receptions for 54 yards. Boone Kehrer also finished with three receptions for 57 yards. Taylor’s lone reception went for 64 yards and a touchdown.
In the rushing attack, the elusive and agile Taylor tallied 76 yards on 13 carries including a touchdown.
Erik Hartley led the team defensively with seven tackles including one for a loss. Kehrer proved talented on both sides of the ball with six solo tackles including one for a loss. Cody Laugh added five and a solo for loss and Brandon Grimes had five tackles.
On Friday Consolidated will try to bounce back when they entertain Roane County to open up the LKC “AA” schedule. Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m. at Knights Stadium.