GRAFTON— In their final performance of the regular season, the Taylor County Middle School Knights football team cruised their way to a 40-0 victory over the Patriots of Robert L. Bland (RLB) Middle School, finishing with an undefeated 8-0 record.
The Knights controlled the contest from the start, shutting down the Patriots’ offense from the first drive, only allowing RLB to pick up five yards during their first series, ending the drive in a quick four and out.
During TCMS’s first drive, the Knights took over at their own 45-yard line and were quick to make it into the endzone. On their first play of the night, Kaden Keener would receive the hand off from QB Chace Kinsey and make the 55-yard run into the endzone for the first TCMS TD.
Not only did Keener’s run put the Knights on the board first, but with the run he broke the All-Time Rushing Record for a single season at TCMS and was immediately recognized during a time out.
Coming back into play, Knight Troy Weber picked up the extra points on the conversion attempt, putting TCMS up with the early 8-0 lead in the first quarter.
On RLB’s next possession, the Knights defense continued to cause them problems, as they held the Patriots at the line of scrimmage. With no positive yardage gained during the series, RLB would once again punt it away to TCMS.
This time however, Knight Riley Humphries was there to block the punt, giving his time excellent field position to begin their drive at the Bland 36-yard line.
The Knights took advantage of this placement and would continue to execute their offensive game plan flawlessly. After picking up a couple of first downs, Kinsey would sneak it in for the Knights, and then connected a pass to Weber to once again claim the extra points.
Now behind with a score of 16-0, the Patriots were hopeful to gain valuable yardage on their next series. Unfortunately, the Knights would not allow it, and they were once again held to a four and out, yet to have picked up a first down.
Meanwhile, the TCMS offense continued to destroy RLB’s defensive efforts, as Weber would break loose for a 66-yard TD run. This time, it was Keener with the conversion points, widening the Knights’ lead to 24-0 with 6:51 remaining in the half.
After another empty possession from the Patriots, Weber would once again see the endzone for the Knights and claimed the two point.
With just 1:22 left to play in the half, the Patriots were finally able to earn their first first down of the evening, but it would be the only one of the half for RLB, as time wore off the clock, and they headed into the locker room with a 32-0 deficit.
The deficit enabled the TCMS coaching staff to allow their younger players to get some valuable playing time, and although the Knights’ scoring would slow a bit during the second half, as they only earned one TD throughout the final two quarters of action, they kept up a strong defensive hold and help the Patriots scoreless.
“It was nice to get the younger players a lot of playing time with having a big lead,” Head Coach Bobby Beltner noted.
TCMS’s final touchdown of the game was earned by Cole Runner with 3:12 remaining in the third. The extra points were picked up by Garrett Davis, and this would secure the final score of 40-0 in favor of the Knights.
“I thought we played good on offense, and defense was really good,” Beltner commented.
At the conclusion, and after bidding a good game to their opponents, the Knights gathered at center field in celebration of their perfect 8-0 record.
However, the Knights are looking for an even bigger reason to celebrate next week.
With their impressive 8-0 record, TCMS has not only earned a spot in the championship game but will be hosting the MID 8 Championship game at McKinney Field on Wednesday, October 27. Kickoff is slated for 7:00 p.m. against Philippi Middle School.
So, while the perfect season is something to be proud of, this team isn’t done yet, and is remaining focused on the task ahead, determined to take it all.
“These boys have worked hard and now get to battle a really good Philippi team for the championship,” Beltner disclosed. “I also would like to thank our cheerleaders for being with us all season, and also thanks to the band, they rocked it again!”
TCMS Athletic Director Allan DePiano wanted to remind the community that because of league rules and regulations, everyone planning on attending the championship game must pay admission. Students and seniors will not be admitted for free. Admission is $6 per person.
Individual player stats:
Kaden Keener: 2 carries, 65 yards, 1 TD, 3 tackles, Jaxson Hall: 1 carry, 11 yards, 3 tackles, Troy Weber: 5 carries, 139 yards, 2 TDs, 4 tackles, Chace Kinsey: 1 carry, 3 yards, 1 TD, Cole Runner: 9 carries, 83 yards, 1 TD, Jonathan Maier: 5 carries, 12 yards, Garrett Davis: 4 carries, 12 yards, Cash Nestor: 2 tackles, Riley Humphries: 5 tackles, blocked punt, fumble recovery, Jackson Hildreth: fumble recovery