HOWARD — A touchdown run by East Knox’s Kasson Krownapple with 4:13 left on the clock in Friday’s muddy conditions proved to be the difference in a 28-21 Bulldog win over the Danville Blue Devils.
“I’m honestly speechless,” Krownapple said. “I’ve been dreaming about this day since we were in Colt with my friends. It’s indescribable.”
With the score tied at 21 apiece, East Knox got the ball on their own 32 after a punt and had 9:25 left on the clock. The Bulldogs pounded the rock down the field, with a healthy dose of Krownapple, setting up the ball in the red zone. East Knox had the ball resting on the 13 on fourth and 4, when Krownapple’s number was called again to get the first down, but he did more than that, scoring the game-winning touchdown from 13 yards out.
“I grabbed my line and I said, ‘Guys, one last play. This play is going to win the game,’” Krownapple said. “They blocked it perfect and it was great.”
Danville still had 4:05 to make things happen and were set up on their own 40. The Blue Devils marched the ball to the 29, when quarterback Dalton David found Alex Holt for a touchdown, but the play was nullified because of a holding penalty.
“You’ve got to make some plays right there and we thought we had one made, but the penalty brought it back,” Danville coach Ed Honabarger said. “It happens. It’s high school football.”
Danville had three more plays, but facing a long way to go for the first resulted in a turnover on downs, giving the ball back to the Bulldogs and they were able to milk away the clock to seal the win.
“It was gut check time for the last 10 years,” East Knox coach Cody Reese said of his defensive effort on the final Danville drive. “Do we want to start becoming a winning program and a program in the right direction, you gotta beat Danville. That was gut-check time. Are we for real, or are we not? I think we answered that to a point tonight.”
Danville struck first in the contest. The Blue Devils were forced to punt on the sixth play of their opening drive, but a muffed ball gave the visitors the ball back deep in enemy territory and five plays later, David connected with Corbin Hazen for a 7yard score with 8:07 to go in the first. The Bulldogs responded with a long drive down the field that took 16 plays and seven minutes off the board. They moved 66 yards and the drive ended with a Weston Melick 3yard run to tie the game at seven late in the quarter.
On the next drive, which spanned into the second frame, David continued his hot throwing, ending a seven-play drive with a 17-yard hookup to Holt for a score to put Danville up 147 with 10:24 to go before intermission. The lead did not last long, though. With help from a 37-yard connection from Kadden Lester to Caleb Gallwitz, East Knox moved the ball down the field in eight plays and Krownapple scored his first touchdown of the night, this one from 3 out to tie the game at 14.
Danville did not settle for the tie, scoring on a 47-yard pass from David to Ethan Hawk for David’s third touchdown pass of the half. The score put the Blue Devils ahead 21-14 with 5:44 to go before halftime. A pair of stalled drives set up East Knox near midfield with 17 seconds to go. A launch down field in efforts to make something happened was intercepted by Danville’s Langdon Johnson, ending the scoring chance and sending both teams to the locker room with a 21-14 score.
Returning to the field, neither team could gain traction, both literally, with the rain continuing to fall and field conditions getting worse, and figuratively, with six combined drives in the third quarter ending in zero points. Three of those drives ended in a turnover, with East Knox’s Ian Toller coming up with a fumble recovery and Danville’s Johnson notching his second pick of the night. The second Johnson interception set up Danville near midfield, but Gallwitz got his hand on an interception of his own to give the ball to the Bulldogs on the 50.
“A lot of the time, location of the turnover is big too,” Honabarger said. “Maybe ours were a little more inopportune times, especially in the second half, but it happens.”
The Gallwitz interception set up East Knox for another scoring drive. The Bulldogs took 14 plays on a drive that went into the fourth quarter and turned it in to seven points on another 3-yarder from Krownapple, tying the game at 21 with 11:01 to go. A three-and-out by Danville set up the Bulldogs for the game winning score.
Krownapple finished the night with 139 yards and three scores on 26 carries, which he paired with 25 yards on three catches. Gallwitz recorded 29 yards on eight carries, while Lester and Melick combined for 20 yards. Lester was 13-of-25 throwing for 124 yards. Gallwitz was his top target, hauling in five catches for 61 yards. Melick, Gage Steinmetz and Dawson Moreland combined for 38 yards on five catches.
David was the top thrower and rusher for the Blue Devils. He had 158 yards and three scores through the air on 11-of-18 passing. Hazen had four receptions for 23 yards. Hawk notched 56 yards, Johnson added 49 and Holt kicked in 28, all on two receptions apiece. David toted the rock 12 times for 35 yards, while Hazen and Chris Greenawalt combined for 17 yards on 11 carries.
The loss dropped the Blue Devils to 4-6 on the year, while the Bulldogs moved to 8-2 for the 2018 season.
“I’m excited for our community,” Reese said. “The last 10-15 years have been rough. The win is for our program, our community and for everybody that never had the opportunity to beat Danville. That’s what we told the boys that we are going to play for and they came out and did a great job. I couldn’t be more proud.”