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By David Sharp
Knox County (6-2) dominated the line of scrimmage in their final regular season football game of the 2021 season. The Eagles scored 56 first half points on the way to a 56-6 victory at Schuyler County. The youthful Rams (0-8) began the contest with 14 players, largely due to injuries suffered throughout the campaign.
The Eagles racked up 326 rushing yards on 38 carries and eight rushing touchdowns. Knox County completed one of three passing attempts on the night. Holden Goucher caught a six yard aerial from Branson Miller.
Braxton McCurren missed the game due to injury. The Eagles are also without reserve quarterback Collin Hayes, who suffered a non-football related foot injury. Hayes is expected to be unavailable the remainder of the football season.
The October 21, 2021 football game at Schuyler County was not scoreless for long. Austin Jansen raced 32 yards for a Knox County score with 11:20 remaining in the first quarter on the second play of the evening.
The two point run failed, leaving Knox County ahead by a six point margin. Robert Dooley handled the kicking duties due Braxton McCurren being unavailable. Dooley kicked several balls into the end zone for touchbacks, including the kickoff after the first KCHS touchdown.
Schuyler County was unable to move the football on their opening series of downs and were forced to punt. Branson Miller returned the kick 57 yards for a touchdown. The two point run failed, leaving the Eagles ahead 12-0 with 9:09 to play in the first quarter.
Ram quarterback Conner Smith fired a 51 yard pass to Mayson Humphrey on the next series. Braydon Miller ended the threat with a pass interception. Branson Miller raced 60 yards for a touchdown with 8:01 showing on the first quarter clock.
The two point pass failed, leaving Knox County up 18-0. Austin Jansen recovered a Ram fumble, giving Knox County a short field on the Ram ten yard line. Branson Miller cashed the turnover with a seven yard run for a 26-0 lead with 7:10 to play in the opening period.
Austin Jansen ran in the two point conversion. Carter Marble intercepted a Ram pass on the KCHS 30 yard line. Austin Jansen scored on a four yard run. Branson Miller ran the two point conversion across the line for a 32-0 lead with 4:39 remaining in the first quarter.
Schuyler County punted again. Austin Jansen crossed the goal line after a 22 yard run with 3:57 to play in period one. Branson Miller ran for the two pointer and a 40-0 Knox County lead.
Schuyler County was able to move the football to their 35 yard line but turned the football over on downs. Riece Miller raced 35 yards for a touchdown with 2:17 to go in the opening period. Holden Goucher scored the two point conversion for a 48-0 lead. Knox County led 48-0 after the first quarter.
Riece Miller scored on an eight yard second quarter rushing attempt. Riece Miller capped his second touchdown on the game with a two point run. Knox County led by a 56-0 margin with 54 seconds remaining in the first half.
Knox County held a 15-7 first down advantage in the opening half. The Eagles rushed 23 times for 238 yards. The Eagles were 1-3 for six yards passing in the first half. Schuyler County was 24-87 yards rushing in the first half. The Rams were 1-6 passing for 51 yards.
Knox County held a 289-138 yard edge in first half total yards from scrimmage. Knox County had six penalties for 55 yards in the first two quarters. Schuyler County turned the football over three times in the first half. The Eagles played turnover free football and led 56-0 entering the second half.
The final two quarters were played with the clock running continuously by the Missouri Mercy Rule. Holden Goucher played quarterback much of the second half. Schuyler County drove the football 76 yards for a touchdown on the 20th possession of the game.
Kale Windy caught a five yard touchdown pass from Conner Smith with 9:52 to play in the game. The two point run failed leaving Knox County with the 56-6 victory.
“Knox County is a good team,” Schuyler County coach Corey Randall said. “We are young. We are inexperienced. I have lost five players to injuries. I have one junior that plays, everyone else is sophomores and freshmen.”
“It’s a learning experience for them. We have just got to keep fighting,” Corey Randall said. “It will be North Shelby,” Coach Randall said of the Ram’s next opponent. “We just have to keep getting better. They still want to play football. They still enjoy the game.”
“They are bought into it. (Kale) Windy is a great player, but it’s easy for Knox to focus in on one player when the other four are hurt.”
Branson Miller led all rushers with six carries for 119 yards and three touchdowns. Austin Jansen had ten attempts for 108 rushing yards and three touchdowns. Riece Miller carried 14 times for 82 yards and two scores.
Knox County finished with 38 carries for 326 yards and eight touchdowns. Branson Miller was 1-3 passing for six yards on the night. Knox County had 332 total yards from scrimmage on the night.
The Eagles had seven penalties for 60 yards. Braydon Miller and Carter Marble intercepted Schuyler County passes. Austin Jansen had a fumble recovery. Knox County recovered a fumble at the end of the game for a total of four Ram turnovers.
Kale Windy led Schuyler County with 25 carries for 111 yards rushing. Conner Smith was 4-11 passing for 82 yards and a touchdown. Smith had two interceptions against. Schuyler County rushed 37 times for 128 yards unofficially. The Rams had 210 total yards from scrimmage.
Mason Humphrey had a 51 yard reception. Kale Windy had three catches for 31 yards and a touchdown. Schuyler County had five penalties for 40 yards unofficially.
North Shelby finished the regular season with an undefeated 9-0 overall record. The Raiders won an 11- man football game at Maysville by a 22-0 final score on August 27, 2021.
“I thought they made a really big turn last week,” Knox County coach Bruce Vannoy said of the Eagle front line play. “I thought they carried that on this week. We have wanted to establish a run game all year. We were able to do that with some multiple backs tonight. That was exciting to see.”
“I am very proud of those guys up front. When they go, we go,” Coach Vannoy said. “Hopefully we continue that as we go on in our districts.”
North Shelby won first place in the regular season Class 1, District 2 eight-man football standings with 46.33 points. Knox County (6- 2) finished second in the district standings with 37.16 points. The Eagles were able to jump over St. Paul Lutheran for second place by virtue of their 58-54 regular season win over the Saints.
St Paul Lutheran (6-3) finished in third place with 38.23 points. Drexel (8-0) defeated St. Paul Lutheran at Concordia by an 80-26 final score in Week nine district play.
Northwest Hughesville (5-4) lost to Bishop LeBlond by a 32-30 margin in week nine play. The Mustangs finished fourth overall in the district standings.
The top four teams host district playoff football games in Missouri. Eighth place Schuyler County and ninth place Keytesville were scheduled to have a district play in game in week ten.
Keytesville forfeited to Schuyler County. To prevent District 2 from getting ahead of other MSHSAA football districts, The Eagles will have a bye week on October 29, 2021.
The district 2 playoffs will resume on Friday, November 5. North Shelby is slated to host Schuyler County. Knox County hosts seventh place Santa Fe (3-6) at 7PM.
Santa Fe lost to Northwest Hughesville by a 64-16 final score. The Chiefs lost to St. Paul Lutheran by a 54-0 margin during the regular season.
Third place St. Paul (Concordia) Lutheran hosts sixth place Concordia HS (3-6). Northwest Hughesville (5-4) will host Norborne- Hardin Central (3-6) concluding first round district play.
Teams retain their district seeding throughout the playoffs. Knox County has the chance to host two district playoff games assuming they can defeat Santa Fe in the first round.