Panthers overcome four turnovers; defeat Taylor County 21-12
BY: Brady Smiley
Knox Central traveled a short distance to Union College to play host to Taylor County on Friday. Despite four turnovers, the Panthers (8-2) edged a 21-12 victory to move onto the next round of the playoffs.
“It wasn’t the prettiest win, but we found a way to get it done and that’s all that matters,” said Coach Scott Russell, “A win is a win and we’re just happy to be moving on to the next week.”
Knox Central started off slow with back-to-back fumbles in the first quarter giving Taylor County (4-7) very favorable field position in their early drives. The Panther defense was able hold strong, though, keeping Taylor County’s lead at 6-0.
The Panthers found their offensive composure in the second quarter when Jaxon Stewart tossed a 16 yard touchdown to Matthew Barger giving Knox Central the 7-6 lead. Taylor County helped Central on their way to the touchdown with back-to-back encroachment penalties.
Coach Russell said, “Jaxon did a great job of changing up the cadence tonight. And the offensive line was really disciplined on the hard counts. It really worked in our favor tonight.”
The first half finished at 7-6 with both teams giving up a fumble on their last drives. Taylor County struck first again in the second half when they took a trick play straight out of Kentucky’s playbook. After the double reverse, the quarterback found Jarred Rogers for a 40-yard touchdown giving Taylor County the 12-7 at the end of the third quarter.
Knox Central answered quickly, pounding their way down field behind their running game. Donavan ‘Doolittle’ Arthur capped off the drive with a tenacious 11-yard touchdown run. Barger’s reception on the 2-point conversion put Knox Central ahead by a field goal, 15-12. The Panthers surprised everyone with an onside kick which they recovered at the Taylor County 29-yard line.
Knox Central extended their lead with an amazing back of the end zone grab by Tanner Wells to put Knox ahead 21-12. The Panther defense held Taylor County in check on their next two drives with interceptions by Matthew Barger and Frankie Robinson.
The Panthers will host the Boyle County Rebels (10-1) in the second round of the playoffs. Boyle County is coming off a 45-22 win over Russell County. Coach Russell said, “Boyle is a good team that gets better every week. They’ll be a tough matchup for us but as long as we say prepared and hungry it’ll be a good game.”