Football: Knights gain momentum in comeback victory

“I think this win finally brought this team together,” said Welch. “ This shows we have some heart.”

By Dylan O'Toole, Round Table Sports Editor

The Knights football team faced another tough challenge Thursday night against Tuscarora. After taking a 9-0 lead in the first half, the Knights began to make mistakes.

The Titans star running back, sophomore Rodney Dorsey, scored two touchdowns as the Titans racked up 21 unanswered points to take a 21-9 halftime lead.

With all realistic playoff hopes on the line, the Knights, backed against the wall, came out with energy and fire to start the second half. The Knights stood up to the challenge and were able to escape with a 38-35 victory.

“This is a turning point for us,” said senior running back Nick Welch. “This is the start of something new.”

This win puts the Knights above .500 for the first time this season.

“We play hard, we fight and we work together,” said Marquis Lauer, Knights junior running back.

Lauer rushed for 173 yards on 13 carries with one touchdown. Welch led the Knights with 174 yards rushing on 18 carries for three touchdowns.

The first score was a sack in the end zone from senior Peter Heon for a safety. This gave the Knights a 2-0 lead with 6:01 left in the first quarter. This would be the first of five important sacks for Heon.

The Knights then received possession on a Titans free kick, and took off running from there. Welch spearheaded a four minute Knights scoring drive that was capped off when Welch cruised into the end zone for a five-yard touchdown.

This score gave the Knights a commanding 9-0 lead with just over a minute remaining in the first quarter, but the momentum was quickly snatched back by the Titans.

Dorsey utilized his speed and strength to get to the edge and break free for a 60-yard touchdown run. This decreased the Knights lead to two as the first quarter came to a close.

Dorsey would run for his second touchdown with just under five minutes remaining in the second quarter to give the Titans a 14-9 lead.

The Knights were able to move the ball on their next possession, thanks to a bevy of long runs from Lauer; The Knights looked to be in prime position to score to close out the first half, but another mistake would plague the Knights chances for a score.

Welch was given the ball at the 11, but it was fumbled. Josh Jeffrey recovered the fumble and ran it back 89 yards for a Tuscarora touchdown. This put the Knights in a 21-9 hole at the half.

“We just knew that we had to step up big time in the second half,” said senior Nick Forbes. “We had to take responsibility for ourselves and the team.”

The Knights first drive of the first quarter showed the grit and grind that Middletown fans are accustomed to seeing.

Lauer and Welch led the Knights down the field, and Welch capped off the Knights 1:50 touchdown drive with a five-yard run, Lauer got the Knights into scoring range with a 40-yard run.

The Knights momentum kept building, on the third play of the Titans next drive junior K.J. Bromwell came up with an interception. This gave the Knights terrific field position to start their next drive.

The Knights took over on the Titans 41 and handed the ball off to Heon on the next play. Heon exploded up the middle and reached the end zone for a 41 yard touchdown. After a two point conversion from Patrick Moore to Anthony Orsini the Knights quickly retook the lead 24-21 with 9:37 left in the third quarter.

“My touchdown was just a little part of the team’s effort,” said Heon. “We were able to get ourselves fired up and handle adversity.”

The lead would then change hands two more times. Dorsey ran for a 24-yard touchdown to give the Titans a 28-24 lead just three minutes after the Knights touchdown.

The Knights then responded immediately with a four-yard touchdown run from Welch to retake the lead, 31-28.

The Knights were finally able to get a stop on defense, and Lauer’s 70-yard touchdown run sealed the victory for the Knights.

“We played really hard as a team together in the second half,” said Heon. “We can attribute that to the coaches.”

Heon stopped the Titans final drive with his fifth sack of the game, to tie a school record set by Rick Leonard.

“We had to come together and face some adversity,” said Forbes. “We stuck together; we knew we could do it.”

The Knights are now riding high, and are in prime position to snag a playoff spot if they continue this type of play.

“I think this win finally brought this team together,” said Welch. “This shows we have some heart.”