Knights sweep district

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By Jesse Osbourne

For the first time since 2007, the Marion County High School football team has escaped district play unbeaten.

The 2009 Knights completed the sweep Friday night at John J. Boswell Field against a North Bullitt team (2-7) that lost a significant amount of seniors from last season, including their Mr. Everything, Dalton Cissell.

The Knights (7-2) came out flat and looked sluggish against North Bullitt, despite leading 19-0 at halftime.

“We had six kids that we know of that had been sick during the week,” Knights Head Coach Jeff Robbins said. “Derek Mattingly didn’t even suit up. During our two full pad practices this week we were depleted. We couldn’t get anything done. Hopefully we’re done with that, hopefully it won’t run through the rest of them.”

Dylan Peterson, Bryson Bell, Joseph “Buster” Hazelwood, Cody Brahm, Jordan Bell and Valis Mudd were among the other players suffering from flu like symptoms leading up to the game.

Seniors Jacob Tabor and Wes Stayton provided excitement for the otherwise lethargic Knights during the first half. Tabor came alive on offense, busting his way through the defense for a 36-yard touchdown to put the Knights up 12-0 with 5:14 to go in the first quarter.

Stayton picked up a fumble that wasn’t apparent at first to nearly everyone in the stadium. The big lineman then scampered 68 yards to pay dirt, his first career touchdown.

“Dustin (Crane) hit the quarterback and the kid tried to throw it and threw it backwards which is a lateral,” Robbins said. “A North Bullitt kid comes over and actually touches the ball and then just leaves it. Official Stewart Hopkins, I have to give him props because most officials blew that call. It happens in high school football more than people realize. When he didn’t pull a flag to blow an intentional grounding, I started yelling to Wes to pick it up and run.”

Stayton sent the sidelines and the stadium into a frenzy, bringing life to an otherwise quiet atmosphere.

Penalties hampered the Knights in the first half as they accumulated 10 flags for 95 yards. The second half went much more smoothly with only two penalties the rest of the way for 25 yards.

“It was all mental focus,” Robbins said. “It comes down to not having good practices last week. If you don’t feel well, you don’t focus. Dylan Peterson said he was dead before he even got going.”

In the second half, the Knights came out swinging, going up 26-0 on a 23-yard touchdown run by Peterson with 10 minutes to go in the third.

Three minutes later, North Bullitt would get their only score of the game set up by a Hazelwood fumble after a North Bullitt player stripped him.

The Knights would put the game away on a 78-yard touchdown scamper by senior Bryson Bell.

Despite all the players suffering from a lack of energy, junior Dylan Caldwell was not one of them. He finished with 10 tackles and was an emotional leader for the Knights on the field.

“We call him the Energizer Bunny. His motor is constantly going,” Robbins said. “If everybody else played with the motor that he plays with, no one would come close to us. He loves playing, he’ll do anything you ask him to do and he enjoys doing it. He’s just a junior. We’re excited about that.” 

Peterson, Tabor and Valis Mudd also had nice games defensively. Peterson finished with 12 tackles and two sackes, Tabor had five tackles and three sacks and Mudd finished with eight tackles and a pick. Mudd had a bone crushing tackle on the North Bullitt sideline in the first half.

Bryson Bell finished with 143 yards on eight carries and one touchdown. Peterson finished with 81 yards on 13 carries and two touchdowns.

The Knights ran 40 plays for a total of 299 yards and 33 points. North Bullitt ran 61 plays for 161 yards and seven points.

“All and all, I think we played very well. Friday night after the game if you asked me that I would have said you were crazy,” Robbins said.

The Knights finish out the regular season at home Friday night against Green County. Kick off is set for 7:30 p.m. at John J. Boswell Field.