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Knights smash Shelby

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By Jesse Osbourne

The Marion County High School football team is known for their smash mouth style but the Knights hit even harder Friday night against Shelby County.

The Knights ran over, under and through the Rockets for a demonstrative 42-7 win in Shelbyville.

Marion County rambled for 435 rushing yards in 55 carries against the Rockets. With runners like senior Clayton Smith and junior Jeremy Mattingly, the Knights sometimes look like a more power running team than in year's past.

"You really wouldn't think that would be the case after the seniors we graduated last year," Head Coach Jeff Robbins said. "Physically, we're a lot smaller. I just attribute it to their ability or desire to play their tails off. They play so hard. Last year we were more of a counter or a trap team. We expect that to come around as we go on."

While the Knights do showcase bruisers, they have a silkier finesse side as well.

Senior Joseph "Buster" Hazelwood reeled off his second straight game with more than 100 yards rushing against Shelby. Hazelwood racked up 157 yards on 19 carries this week and 189 yards on 29 carries two weeks ago against Collins.

"Buster is fast and he cuts really well on the field," Robbins said. "Our offensive line has played really well too. I think his production is a combination of him stepping up and the 'O' line stepping up as well."

A name that isn't always attributed to rushing yards also had a big week against Shelby County. Junior quarterback Ryan Peterson was the team's second leading rusher with 83 yards on six carries.

"He's great at the option," Robbins said. "Shelby County was doing things to take the fullback and the tailback away on the pitch. He had more opportunity than usual and took full advantage of it."

Despite suffering a rib injury in the season opener to John Hardin, Peterson has never looked timid in running the ball.

"I don't think he would ever be timid about anything. He's just one of those kids that's going to get it done," Robbins said. "He reminds me of Eric Miles who was also like that."

Don't think the Knights defense didn't get in on the physical, emotional play as well.

Seniors Cody Brahm and Justin Price led the wrecking crew, accounting for 19 tackles between them. An early sack by Price near the Knights sideline brought life to the bench as the Knights gained momentum.

"Justin and Cody are two great defensive ends and tight ends. They have that drive, they want to be successful and now they know that they can," Robbins said.

The Knights held the Rockets to no passing yards and only 80 rushing yards. Does Robbins feel like the doubts concerning the secondary should be over now?

"I think so," he said. "I'm not saying their won't be times we look like we need to play better pass defense. I've said all along that this year we'd play better pass defense. We're taller in the secondary and the kids can cut a little bit better. I feel like those kids can play. They still have to get better at it. I think these kids will."

The Knights continue regular season play Friday at home against Taylor County. Kick off is set for 7:30 p.m.