GRAFTON—The Knights of Taylor County Middle School (TCMS) were back in action at home on Wednesday against the Barbour County football team, but prior to kickoff, the program paid a special tribute to former Knights football player Tyler Poston.
Poston was tragically shot and killed on June 26,2021. Once a part of the Knights family, TCMS head coach Bobby Beltner utilized his team’s second home game of the season to honor his life and the loving family he left behind by presenting them with a piece of Poton’s past.
The Knights busted onto McKinney Field with team captains Kaden Keener and Jaxson Hall proudly carrying an older Knights jersey displaying the number 54.
The team invited Poston’s family down onto the sideline and the jersey, which had been the same Poston sported during his years as a Knight, was presented to his dad, Daniel “Dano” Poston.
Join by TCMS Principal Scott Hage, along with TCMS Athletic Director Alan DePiano and Beltner, Poston’s dad, mom, Crystal Johnson, and stepdad, Joe Johnson were presented with official Knights football helmets, also boasting Poston’s number, 54, and signatures from this year’s team and coaching staff.
Poston’s parents were also invited to make their way to centerfield for the coin toss as honorary captains.
In addition to these special presentations, fans in the crowd donned one of Poston’s favorite fashions, tie dye; coloring the stands in his memory.
Playing this one for Tyler, the Knights were quick in getting down the field, with Keener on a 72-yard carry moving the ball to the Barbour County 14-yard line on the first possession of the game for a first and goal.
From there, Troy Weber punched in a Knight TD with less than two minutes wore off the clock. Hall’s run for the two-point conversion would see success, and the Knights took the early 8-0 lead.
The Barbour County Bulldogs began their first drive of the contest with an illegal participation penalty called prior to the snap, costing them five yards.
However, the Bulldogs were able to shake the call and answered the Knights’ touchdown with one of their own tying the game with a successful extra point attempt with just 1:55 remaining in the quarter.
The Knights would end the first unable to move the ball much further down the field after Cash Nestor received the return, running it to the Bulldogs 49-yard line, but coming out in the second, TCMS would once again quickly make their way to the endzone.
Following a nine-yard carry by Hall, Keener claimed the second TD for the Knights. The conversion failed, putting TCMS back on top 14-8.
A kickoff recovery by Knight Cole Runner put TCMS back in possession of the ball, however the remainder of the quarter saw the Knights’ offense struggle with ball movement and the Bulldogs unable to make a play. This sent the Knights into the locker room still leading by a touchdown.
The Bulldogs opened the third with a long drive, taking them into the redzone. The defensive efforts of the Knights, while a bit lackluster, still managed to make valuable stops, ending Barbour County’s drive before they could make the TD.
The third quarter went scoreless, and it was the Knights on an offensive drive to start out the fourth.
The drive ended up being a combine effort of Keener and Weber, each earning the team two first downs as the team worked its way to the redzone. TCMS ended the drive with a TD by Weber with 3:05 remaining.
The Knights once again failed on the conversion, bringing the score to 20-8.
While the Bulldogs were hopeful to put together a last-minute drive, the Knights had other plans, with the defense once again forcing Barbour County to commit the turnover on downs securing the TCMS victory.
The team dedicated their win to Poston, and Keener presented the game ball to his mom at the conclusion of the contest.
And although the Knights were able to hold off their opponent, Belter noted that the team seemed to be lacking enthusiasm, something he wants to see them improve upon.
“I am a little disappointed in the way we played. We had no energy coming out of the locker room to start the game,” he said. “The good thing is all the mistakes are fixable, and a win is a win. We just have to get mentally and physically tougher.”
Next week, the Knights, now 2-0, will play their first road game, taking on WI on Hite Field, on Wednesday, September 15 at 7:00 p.m.
Individual player stats: Kaden Keener: 20 carries, 197 yards, 1 TD, 8 tackles, Jaxson Hall: 5 carries, 26 yards, Troy Weber: 8 carries, 48 yards, 2 TDS, 7 tackles, Cole Runner: 1 carry, 0 yards, fumble recovery, Riley Humphries: 5 tackles.