Knights power past Hurricane
ONA – The first quarter of Cabell Midland’s football rivalry matchup Friday with Hurricane featured 400 yards of offense between the Knights and Redskins.
The final three quarters featured complete domination by the Knights.
Cabell Midland forced five turnovers in the contest and scored the final 50 points of the contest en route to a 63-14 win over the Redskins.
“I told them they needed to make a statement,” Cabell Midland coach Luke Salmons said. “They answered the bell. Their mindset was where it needed to be. Anytime you can score 63 and only allow 14 on a good team like that, that’s impressive.”
Salmons watched as his team thrived in every aspect of the game after adjusting to the Redskins’ offensive attack early.
While the defensive performance improved during the contest and made plays on the football, there were several players that stepped up on the offensive side as well.
Offensively, Donte Hendricks led the Knights, amassing 202 all-purpose yards and scoring three times.
Hendricks’ most explosive run of the night came in the second half as he raced down the left sideline, avoided tacklers, cut all the way back to the right sideline and out-raced the defense for a 68-yard score as part of a 21-point third quarter that iced the game.
While the Knights continued their strong rushing attack with 478 yards on the ground, it was also the ability of quarterback Coy Petitt to complete passes which kept Hurricane from loading up the box with eight and nine defenders.
Petitt’s first two passes went for touchdowns – a 49-yarder to Seth Vickers and a 25-yarder to Hendricks – which gave the Knights the lead for good at the end of the first quarter after an offensive explosion in the game’s first 12 minutes.
The 6-foot-3, 170-pound junior quarterback finished the game 6 of 10 through the air for 179 yards and three scores after connecting with Vickers on another 29-yard score following a Hurricane fumble on a kickoff.
“We simplified things,” Salmons said. “We have a ton of passes that we work on, but we simplified things and he knew where he wanted to go pre-snap.”
Turnovers plagued the Redskins throughout the contest and killed promising drives while enabling the Knights to extend the lead.
After holding a one-point lead midway through the first quarter, Hurricane’s four second-quarter possessions ended in a turnover on downs following a failed fourth-and-1, a safety, a fumble and an interception.
“We adjusted some things in the back end, but the defense played well,” Salmons said. “We tightened them down on receivers and the coaches made good sideline adjustments. They got more pressure and we really played well over the final three quarters.”
The final interception proved costly as well because it would be the end of the night for Hurricane quarterback Austin Hensley, who suffered an arm injury on the play.
Despite the injury, Hensley finished the game 22 of 32 for 252 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions as the Redskins completely scrapped the rushing attack and went with a five-wide receiver set from the beginning of the contest.
Hensley completed 14 of his first 17 passes, including touchdown tosses of 39 yards to Zach Pate and three yards to Brandon Ford. A two-point conversion pass to Alex Wolford gave the Redskins a brief 14-13 lead.
The Knights answered back when Petitt connected with Hendricks from 25 yards out to take the lead for good.
Cabell Midland then used the second-quarter troubles of Hurricane and its three-headed rushing attack to outscore the Redskins 21-0 en route to a 36-14 halftime advantage.
In addition to Hendricks’ big night, Kasey Thomas rushed for a pair of scores and finished with 108 yards on the ground while Teran Barnitz finished with 88 yards, including an impressive 33-yard scoring run in which he wormed out of three tackles on the interior of the line before running into the end zone.
“That’s what I like about our offense,” Salmons said. “If you stop the outside plays, it opens the middle. And if we can throw over the top, then we’re that much better offensively. Every week it’s someone different.”
Cabell Midland returns to action at home next week when Woodrow Wilson comes to Knights Stadium for a 7:30 p.m. contest on Friday .
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