GRAFTON— The Taylor County Middle School (TCMS) football program has taken the conference by storm, and with their most recent win over Lincoln Wildcats, the Knights are now 7-0 on the season and will be hosting the championship game in a little less than two weeks.
Just minutes into the contest, the Knights set the pace for the game, forcing the Wildcats to punt the ball away on their first possession, and scoring on their second play of the game.
This first TCMS TD was earned by eighth grade standout Kaden Keener. Troy Weber followed Keener’s touchdown with a successful two-point conversion, quickly putting the Knights ahead 8-0.
Throughout the course of action, the Knights would continue handing the Wildcats empty possessions, but suffered several penalties themselves that would cost them two touchdowns.
During the second, QB Chace Kinsey would throw his first touchdown pass of the season to Jaxson Hall, advancing the Knights to a 14-0 lead, with just under eight minutes remaining before halftime.
The formidable Knights defense continued to cause problems for Lincoln, causing major loss of yardage on their final possession of the half, giving TCMS the opportunity to further their lead before the break. And that was an opportunity Taylor County would capitalize on.
With just 15 seconds remaining on the clock, Keener would once again sneak into the endzone for the Knights, and Weber earned the easy two-point conversion, moving the score to 22-0 as time ran off the clock.
Despite opening the second half of action with a penalty, the Knights advanced the ball down field and into Wildcat territory where Hall would pick up the TD. Kinsey’s pass on the extra point attempt would find Weber open in the endzone for the 30-0 lead with 3:50 remaining in the third.
Looking to put something together offensively, the Wildcats turned to their air game, but those efforts were quickly spoiled by the Knights, when Jonathan Maier intercepted the pass, and ran it back for a TD. This touchdown, however, was one of two called back on flags, and because of a foul committed by the Wildcats, the penalties offset, and Lincoln retained possession.
While the Wildcats did make it into Knights territory, a solid defense once again halted them short of the goal in time to close the third.
With 5:15 left in the game, Maier picked up another TCMS touchdown and widened the lead to 36-0 after success of the two-point.
The Wildcats took over on the 38 for their final drive, and with the younger Knights on the field, they were able to run one in and claim their first and only TD of the evening.
TCMS walked away with the 36-8 victory and moved to 7-0 on their undefeated season.
“I am happy to be 7-0,” shared Head Coach Bobby Beltner. “I thought we played okay at times. The running backs went hard, but I am disappointed with the penalties.”
He added by saying “We had way too many penalties, including two that called back touchdowns. I am not sure about a few of the calls, but the ones that were obvious were just mental mistakes and something we will be working to improve on.”
This contest was also the first in which the TCMS Marching Band was able to perform, and Coach Beltner noted his appreciation to the program as well as the cheerleaders.
“I would like to give a shoutout to our cheerleaders who are always creating positive energy at our games,” he said. “And our band, wow they are amazing!”
While the Knights are on the road to the championship, they still have one more regular season game to tackle next Wednesday, however, their opponent is yet to be determined due to COVID-19.
The following week, because of their #1 conference seeding, TCMS will host the championship game at McKinney Field.
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.
Individual player stats:
Kaden Keener: 11 carries, 120 yards, 2 TDs, 3 tackles, Jaxson Hall: 2 carries, 44 yards, 1 catch for 14 yards resulting in 1 TD, Troy Weber: 7 carries, 88 yards, 11 tackles, Jonathan Maier: 3 caries, 57 yards, Garrett Davis: 3 carries, 20 yards, Jeremiah Quinn, 1 carry, 4 yards, Brayden White: 3 tackles, Chace Kinsey: 1 pass, 14 yards, resulting in TD.