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Knights get defensive in 14-point comeback

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By Joel Stevens, Associate Editor

    TABOR - First and goal at the three yard line. A dive up the middle is thwarted by the Fremont-Mills defense as the first half clock runs out, leaving the Knights trailing 14-8.

    The Knights' stop that ended the half wasn't exactly a “play of the game” type but as far as momentum goes, there was no bigger play in the game for Knight head coach Jeremy Christiansen whose team battled back from from a two-touchdown deficit in a 20-8 victory over Adair-Casey on Friday.
    “That was a very, very, big situation,” said Christiansen of the half-ending stop. “They didn’t get in the end zone there. It seemed like our defense was on the field the whole game. That was probably the most important series of the game.”
    Two Adair-Casey series into the game, the Knights trailed 14-0. The Knights turned the ball over on its play from scrimmage leading to a 27-yard touchdown scamper by Taylor Wheatley. After a Knight three-and-out, Clayton Plowman capped a 13 play, 76 yard drive with a one yard score.

    touchdown run. The two point conversion put Fremont-Mills down 14-8. After forcing the Bombers to punt on the ensuing possession, the Knights looked poise to seize the momentum but Wheatley, playing safety, picked off Austin Hansen’s pass.
    The Bombers marched  62 yards in 12 plays, eating up nearly seven minutes of clock, but couldn’t punch in when Meier and the Knight defense stacked up Plowman at the one foot line to end the half.
    Most of the first half Adair-Casey was able to keep the Knight defense on the field by converting three-and long’s, thanks to Wheatley’s feet, but still managed to keep the Bombers’ from extending their lead.
    “We had some breakdowns there of understanding where we were (on the field) and what we needed to do,” said Christiansen. “Our defense would play well and then they’d convert on us. I guess we were like the Hawkeyes, bend but don’t break.”
    The Knights adjusted in the second half. After each team traded punts to open the third quarter, the Bombers appeared to be driving when Josh Larsen snatched a Wheatley pass out of the air for his first career interception.
    On the very next play, Meier rumbled down the sideline for a 64 yard touchdown that tied the game at 14-14.
    The teams traded punts once again to open the fourth quarter before Adair-Casey’s offense began to move the ball. Wheatley found Kale Matthies for a pair of catches netting 38 yards but a third attempt at a hook up between the two was ended when Knight safety Derrian Bredberg stepped in front of a slant route for an interception he returned to the the Knights’ 29 yard line.
    The Knights would respond by marching 51 yards in nine plays, all of but 10 yards coming on the ground, to take the lead on Meier’s one-yard plunge. Meier actually fumbled on the play but the ball was recovered in the end zone by lineman Dominic Aistrope.
    All through preseason practice and two games into this season, Christiansen has talked about being the more physical team. Against Adair-Casey, he thought his team was just that.
    “We’ve talked about that all year, we want to be a physical football team,” said Christiansen. “We get jumped out on 14-0 but we weathered the storm, became the more physical team. I thought we played fairly well.”
    Meier finished with 144 yards and two touchdowns. He also added 17 tackles on defense.
    “He played  hell of a ball game. All the guys up front did, but Nate definitely played well and he got some big blocking and was able to break free for some big runs for us,” he said.
    Linebacker Nick Williams finished with a career-high 27 tackles. Bredberg added 16 tackles to go with his interception.

FM 00  08 06 06  20
AC 14 00 00 00 14

AC – Taylor Wheatley, 27 run (conversion good).
AC – Clayton Plowman,1 run (conversion failed).
FM – Nate Meier, 33 run (conversion good).
FM – Nate Meier, 64 run (conversion failed).
FM – Dominic Aistrope, 1 run (conversion failed).