UTICA — The visiting East Knox Bulldogs’ defense shut down the Utica Redskins in the second half of their Friday night non-league clash. In the meantime, the Bulldogs made all the the big plays, drubbing the Redskins, 51-10.

“Anytime we can take advantage of mistakes and get a short field, that’s good,” said East Knox coach Cody Reese. “We were fortunate enough to capitalize, and we have to keep getting better at it.”

East Knox was able to move the ball on the ground and through the air all night. Bulldogs’ quarterback Kadden Lester (9-for-15, 201 yards) hit Weston Melick with a 60-yard touchdown pass with about three minutes left in the first quarter.

Later in the opening quarter, Bulldogs’ Kasson Krownapple intercepted a Utica pass. Then, it was Krownapple who scored himself a few plays later on a 15-yard run to give the Bulldogs a 13-3 lead. Krownapple rolled up 128 yards on 19 carries for East Knox in the game.

“Running the ball is really easy,” Krownapple said. “It’s like any other back in this league. Our line makes the holes, and I’ll hit them. Those are my boys.”

Krownapple would pull in a 53-yard touchdown pass from Lester later in the quarter. Then, with less than five minutes to go in the first half, the Bulldogs’ defense struck again, grabbing the game’s only fumble on the Utica 15-yard line. Running back Caleb Gallwitz fought his way into the endzone two plays later on a 6-yard run, which gave the Bulldogs a 25-3 lead.

The Redskins got 43 yards on the ground from running back Garrett Myers in the first half, but it was teammate Mack Marston who managed to score his team’s only touchdown Friday, going in from a yard out with under a minute to go in the half.

On the ensuing kickoff, however, the Bulldogs got a good return from Gallwitz to set up another short TD run by Krownapple, making it 33-10 at the half.

In the second half, East Knox got touchdown runs by Krownapple and Gallwitz. The latter topped off the night with a 16-yard touchdown catch and finished the game with six catches for 156 yards.

Utica quarterback Collin McCullough went 12 for 16 for 180 yards in the first half, and finished the night with 199 yards in the air.

“Collin keeps getting better,” Utica coach Charlie Rowley said. “He’s a competitor. He’s going to battle. I have no doubt as to his ability.”

The Bulldogs’ defense managed to keep a lid on him most of the first half, before shutting him down in the second.

“They’re a well-coached team with a lot of good athletes,” Reese said. “We were very concerned about how we were going to contain (McCullough), and we didn’t do it all night long, but we stopped them in the second half.”

East Knox will host Strasburg-Franklin next Friday, while Utica will host Fredericktown in a pair of non-conference matchups. Both games start at 7 p.m.

 

Geoff Cowles: 740-397-5333 or gcowles@mountvernonnews.com and on Twitter, @mountvernonnews

 

 

 

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