Wednesday evening the West Central Area/Ashby (WCAA) Knights traveled to Swanville to face off with the #8 ranked 1A Upsala/Swanville Area (USA) Patriots in the final regular season contest of the season. A powerful Patriot team flexed its muscle and showed all viewers just why they have a top ten ranking as they rolled up 401 yards of offense and dispatched the Knights by a score of 35-14.
The Knights opened the game with the ball and looked to be running well picking up several first downs until a fumble turned the ball over to the Patriots. USA made quick work with the pigskin as it used two plays to cover 80 yards, (Sr) Dylan Graves scored on a five yard run on the second of those plays. (Sr) QB/KickerMyron Ripplinger booted the PAT. Graves scored again at 10:37 in the 2nd stanza on a four yard run finishing a eight play 65 yard drive. The kick was blocked by the Knights. USA scored a third time in the first half with 4:41 on the clock on a three yard run from (Sr) RB Travis Barthel. (Jr) RB Dalton Louden ran in the PAT and the score held at 21-0 in favor of the Patriots until the half.
Four minutes into the second half the Patriots put up six more points on a four yard touchdown pass from Ripplinger to (Sr) WR Matt Koetter. The PAT kick was good. 14 seconds into the final period of play Graves scored his third TD of the night as he broke loose for a 53 yard run. Ripplinger made good on the PAT kick putting the home team up by a score of 35 to zip. Offensive life surfaced for the Knights midway through the 4th quarter on a carnival type play. (So) QBIsaiah Sykora let a pass rip from his own 47 yard line, the ball would pass through the hands and bounce off intended (Sr) WR Austin Walker twirling into the waiting mitts of (Jr) WR/RB Kaden Spindler. Spindler took the 53 yard assisted pass to the end zone untouched. Sykora threw for the PAT as he hit (Fr) RB Braden Overson for two points. Following an exciting hook and lateral play between Spindler and Overson the final score of the contest came with 1:39 ticks on the clock as Sykora plunged in from two yards out on a run.
Although the Knights put up 257 yards of offense they had a rather tough go of moving a football for most of the game. Sykora earned 'Area Press Player of the Game' as he not only led the passing game by completing five out of six attempts for 90 yds, a TD and a PAT but also scored the lone TD on the ground. (Jr) RB Brady Sabolik led the Knight rushers with 54 yards on 16 carries. WCAA finished the game with seven receivers catching passes, Spindler led the group with a pair of catches for 64 yd and a score.
As stated above the Patriots posted 401 total yards. 245 of those came on the ground and 156 of them in the air. The Knight defense allowed 15 first downs. (Sr) Cole Redepenning led the tacklers with 7.5 stops. (Sr) Jacob Drechselhad 5.5 tackles, (Jr) Logan Paulson put up 5 tackles and (Sr) Tyler Onstad posted 4 tackles and a pass defense.
With the regular season now in the books high school football shifts its attention to the post-season. The 2-6 Knights have landed the 6th seed in Section 6AA action. They will travel Tuesday to face the 3rd seed 5-3 Breckenridge Cowboys. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 pm.