MOUNT GILEAD — Mount Gilead had a few tricks up its sleeve in Friday’s home KMAC game against East Knox, and held the Bulldogs to their second-lowest point total of the season, but East Knox still emerged with a 40-17 win.
The Bulldogs’ defense had some trouble handling the mishmash that was the Indians’ offense. Mount Gilead (3-6, 2-4) gained 307 yards, with three QBs, Brady Mermann, Joel Butterman and Nathan Rogers, combining for 19 of 31 for 253 yards. Mermann was 5 of 11 for 80 yards, and ran 15 times for 57 yards. Butterman went 6 of 9 for 59 yards, and Rogers was 8 of 11 for 114 yards. Butterman also led the team with four catches for 73 yards, and Rogers caught four passes for 45 yards.
East Knox (9-0, 6-0), however, allowed just over two yards per carry (26-54) while going off for 417 yards. Kadden Lester completed 12 of 17 passes for 195 yards and three TDs, and the team ran 31 times for 222 yards and had 23 first downs to 17 for Mount Gilead. Caleb Gallwitz was effective despite being held nearly 100 yards below his season game average (24-147).
The Indians played good defense in the first quarter, giving up just one score, a Gallwitz 8-yard run at the 6:36 mark. Garrett Lamb-Hart’s 19-yard field goal cut the lead two 7-3 with 5:04 to play in the first half, but the Bulldogs got momentum back with two TDs in the final minutes. Gallwitz had a 13-yard TD run to take the score to 14-3 with 4:14 left, and with only six seconds to play, Lester closed the half’s final drive with a 3-yard TD pass to Braden Kannady to lead, 21-3.
Lester took over in the third quarter with two TD tosses, both to Gage Steinmetz. Steinmetz, who had nine catches for 157 yards, hauled in a 58-yarder with 10:05 left in the period, and grabbed a 32-yarder at the 5:08 mark for a 33-3 advantage. One of Mount Gilead’s quarterbacks, Mermann, threw a 42-yard TD to Paul Butterman with 2:50 to play, but Gallwitz gave East Knox a 40-10 lead with his third score of the game, an 11-yard run.
Joel Butterman completed a 5-yard TD pass to Owen Blanton for the only score of the fourth quarter for the Indians.
East Knox clinched a share of the KMAC title with the victory, and can win outright by beating host Danville next Friday at 7 p.m. Mount Gilead finishes the season at Cardington.