Playoff Time for Tyler
Tyler Consolidated Silver Knights Coach Ryan Walton said at the beginning of the football season that his main goal was to make the post-season playoffs. On Friday night, with a little help from his friends, he achieved his goal as his Knights put a whipping on the St. Marys Blue Devils in Tyler’s second straight mud bowl.
The Knights needed to win the game, as well as get a little help from Summers County over Fayetteville, to make the playoffs. The Knights took care of business on Friday with a 27-6 win. Meanwhile, Summers County shut out Fayetteville, sending the Silver Knights to an opening round game with number one ranked Wheeling Central, at Wheeling Jesuit and set for Friday night.
The Silver Knights have had field troubles the past two weeks as rain and mud have made the Knights field almost unplayable, and almost cost them a game against Valley High School two weeks ago. This past week, the Knights never let the field conditions bother them as they ran and passed the ball on their way to a 27-0 lead, before allowing the Blue Devils a late game score.
Junior standout Mark Rucker stood out big in the win as he opened the scoring for the Knights in the second quarter with a one-yard touchdown, with seven minutes to play in the half. The run attempt for the two points failed, but the Knights held a 6-0 lead they would never relinquish. Rucker added another score with 2:29 to go in the quarter when he got free to grab a 15-yard scoring pass from senior quarterback Griffin Phillips. The run after, again, failed, and the Knights took a 12-0 lead into the locker room.
Coming out in the third period neither team could reach the end zone, but the Silver Knights used a ball control offense to keep St. Marys on defense most of the time and limit their opportunities. With Rucker and Phillips providing most of the offense, the Silver Knights threatened to score a couple times, but penalties set them back on two occasions.
The fourth quarter also belonged to the Knights when Phillips called his own number and went in from a yard out with 10:16 to go in the frame to make it 1-0. With just two minutes to go in the game Hunter Forester, the Knights’ senior fullback, powered up the middle from six yards out for a 24-0 lead. Phillips tacked on the two-point conversion run for what looked to be the final score, but St. Marys managed a drive that would end with a three-yard touchdown run by Jacob Hoyt with 26 seconds left in the game. Joey Sanchez added the kick after for the end result.
David Throckmorton and Gage Huffman each had huge catches in the game to keep drives alive. Huffman grabbed two balls for 45 yards, while Throckmorton snagged four for 51 yards. The Silver Knights led the Blue Devils in total yardage, 372 to 100, and gained 16 first downs. The Knights’ fired-up defense limited the Blue Devils to only four first downs.
Phillips went 9-15 passing for 125 yards, with no interceptions and a score. He also carried the ball 16 times for 49 yards. Rucker caught one ball for 15 yards and ran for 159 on 28 carries. Forester picked up 39 yards on nine totes and caught one pass for four yards. The Silver Knights only had to punt once the entire game with Phillips punting for 35 yards.
“Hey, we’re just happy to make the playoff. We’re happy, but we want to play hard and continue on. Our next opponent looks like to be number one Wheeling Central, who fell tonight tonight to Magnolia for their first loss of the season. We’re going to get some work in, watch some film, and go out and give it our best shot. We have some talent on this team, and under the right conditions, we feel good about our chances.
We’ll just go out and play and see what happens,” Coach Ryan Walton said of the Knights’ Friday night victory.