America Runs Over Silver Knights
Trying to recover from last week’s loss to Ritchie County, the Tyler Consolidated Silver Knights traveled out Route 18 to Doddridge County for a battle against the Bulldogs. Doddridge fielded a team of 36 compared to the Knights’ 24, and on a hot and humid night in hostile territory, the home team put together a running attack the Silver Knights had no answer for.
The Bulldogs’ sophomore running back sensation Hunter America, who came into the contest with six touchdowns in the first game of the season, continued his power running on the way to seven touchdowns and 461 yards on 31 carries to lead the home team to a 62-43 win. This gives Doddridge a 2-0 record for the first time since 2013. The Knights fell to 0-2, despite putting 43 points on the board.
Tyler won the opening coin toss and elected to kick. Doddridge, however, took advantage of the opening kick and put together a 72-yard scoring drive, highlighted by America’s five runs for 51 yards – including the one-yard touchdown. The extra point kick was good; with 8:06 left in the first, the score stood at 7-0.
The Knights answered right back on their first possession with going 60 yards in seven plays with Mark Rucker picking up the touchdown on a five-yard jaunt. After a five-yard penalty for delay of game, Griffin Phillips kicked the point after attempt through the uprights, and it was 7-7 with 5:45 to go in the first. Rucker had 17 yards on three carries, and Phillips added 23 yards on two runs. Phillips also completed two passes with a seven-yard strike to Hunter Forester and a 13-yarder to Gage Huffman.
Doddridge wasted no time getting back on the scoreboard, as the Bulldogs took the kick-off to the 30 yard line, and on the first play, America ran through and over the Knights’ defense on his way to a 70-yard score for his second touchdown of the night. The extra point kick was good, and Doddridge had a 14-7 lead they would never relinquish. After just two series, America had 121 yards and two touchdowns on six carries.
The visiting Silver Knights weren’t about to quit and used a 34-yard kick-off return to put the ball on the 39 yard line. From there Phillips hit Rucker for 26 yards to put the pigskin at the 13. Phillips ran for three yards to the 10, and Rucker ripped off three to the seven, making it third and four. The Knights were then penalized for 15 yards, which brought up a third and 19. On the next play Phillips hit Rucker for a 23-yard scoring strike. Rucker got behind the defender, fell to the ground, and caught the ball while on his back for the score. Phillips added the kick, and the score was 14-14 with 3:16 still left in the first quarter.
The Bulldogs put together another drive to end the quarter on the five-yard line with second and goal. At the start of the second quarter, America took the hand-off and raced in the end zone for his third score. The kick was good, and Doddridge led 21-14.
The Silver Knights came back again and put together a nice 85-yard drive of their own to get a score when Rucker ripped around two defenders and went in from 18 yards out to make it 21-20.
Phillips’ extra point attempt was blocked, and the home team held the lead. During the drive Phillips connected with Huffman on two passes for 18, and 12 yards to keep the Knights alive. Rucker also caught a 12-yard toss for a first down.
With 4:43 still left in the second quarter, Doddridge lit up the scoreboard again when America got his fourth score of the night on a 10-yard run; the kick was good, and the Bulldogs led 28-20.
America had 53 yards on four carries during the drive and had 221 rushing yards at that point.
The Knights took the kick-off and Phillips returned to the 14. On the first play the ball fell incomplete; Phillips tried to pass again on the next down and was intercepted on the 40-yard line. With 4:20 to go before halftime America took off on another run of 40 yards to cross the goal line for his fifth touchdown on the night, while accumulating 261 yards. Doddridge went up 35-20
Tyler got the ball right back and seconds later scored on a 60-yard pass from Phillips to Throckmorton. Hunter Forester added the two-point conversion run, and the Knights had pulled to within seven, 35-28, with a little over a minute to go before the half.
Doddridge was not finished yet, however, as they scored with two seconds left in the first half on a 30-yard run by America for his sixth touchdown to put his team on top 42-28 after the extra point. America went into the locker room with 339 first half rushing yards to go along with his six touchdowns.
After the break, The Silver Knights connected early on a 24-yard touchdown strike from Phillips to Huffman, and the extra point kick was good – making it again a seven point game, 42-35. Doddridge then got a 15 yard touchdown run from Griffin Devricks to go back up 48-35 after the failed extra point try.
The Knights took the next kick-off and got a 55-yard run from Rucker, but the drive stalled and the Knights turned the ball over on downs to end the third quarter. Doddridge got a drive started and drove to the eight-yard line behind the running of America who went over 400 yards. However, Huffman recovered a rare fumble by America, and the Knights had possession at their own eight. The Knights put together a drive that included three penalties and stalled on their own 23 after a fake punt and incomplete pass from Phillips to Rucker gave the Bulldogs the ball on the Knights 23.
Doddridge ran two running plays to make it second and one, but a holding call with six minutes to play moved the ball back five yards for a third and six. America took off on a 24-yard touchdown run which was then called back for a holding penalty. The Bulldogs got another penalty, moving the ball back to the 31-yard line. Devricks then ripped through for a 31-yard touchdown, which sealed the game 55-35, or so it seemed.
The Knights, with three minutes to play, got three runs from Rucker for 59 yards. Phillips connected with Huffman on three passes for 12 yards. Rucker’s last run of the drive was a dandy 29-yarder that drew the Knights to within two scores at 55-41. Phillips hit Huffman who made a nice grab in coverage for the two-point conversion. It was a 12 point game with under two minutes to play. The Knights tried an onside kick, but Doddridge recovered at the 50 yard line. America ran for eight yards, and on second and two he burst through for the final 42 yards and his seventh touchdown. The kick was good and the score was settled 62-43.
America ended the night with 461 yards, rushing on 31 carries and seven touchdowns. The Silver Knights got 243 receiving yards with Phillips going 18-29 for three touchdowns and 243 yards. Rucker scored four times and racked up 194 rushing yards. Gage Huffman was impressive, catching eight passes including two to keep drives alive and an 11-yard grab for a touchdown plus a two-point conversion snag. The Knights are open on Friday but will take to the road again on Sept. 14 against Calhoun County, as they look to get in the win column.