BARBOURVILLE — After pulling off a spectacular comeback victory last week at Madison Southern, Southwestern could not overcome a deficit for the second game in a row, resulting in a 22-7 setback to Knox Central last night in Barbourville.
The Southwestern Warriors ran out to a seven-point lead in the first quarter, but the home-standing Knox Central Panthers rattled off 22 unanswered points to tally their first win of the 2019 season. Southwestern, with the 15-point loss on the road, fell to 1-2 on the year.
Despite being penalized five times and losing Austin Barnes to an ejection on their opening drive of the contest, the Warriors were still able to find the end zone. Southwestern’s inaugural score of the night came on a 27-yard touchdown pass from Blake Burton to Xavier Streeter. With Max Brainard’s successful extra-point try, Southwestern grabbed an early 7-0 lead over the Panthers.
A pair of touchdown runs from Seth Huff in the second period allowed Knox Central to jump out to a 14-7 halftime advantage over the Warriors. Huff’s first score of the night was a 48-yard run and his second touchdown of the game would come on a 13-yard scamper.
Other than a score on their opening drive of the contest, Southwestern did not have a strong half offensively. After that successful first drive, the Warriors would throw an interception on one drive and be forced to punt on their next four drives in the first half of action.
Southwestern forced Knox Central into back-to-back turnovers midway through the third stanza, but they could not capitalize on those opportunities after coming up empty with a missed field goal and a turnover on downs. After three quarters in the books, the Warriors trailed Knox Central by a seven-point margin at 14-7.
The Warriors drove down the field midway through the fourth quarter, and it looked as if they would find the end zone for the first time since the opening period. Despite getting all the way down to the Knox Central six-yard line, the Warriors would turn the ball over on downs, handing the ball back to the Panthers.
Knox Central sealed the deal late in the ballgame on a 27-yard touchdown run from Ethan Mills. With a two-point conversion run by Mills, the Panthers extended their lead out to 22-7, which would be the final tally in this one.
The Panthers’ 188-yard rushing attack was paced by the pair of Huff and Mills. Mills led the way with 125 yards and a lone score on 19 attempts, while Huff accumulated 84 yards and two touchdowns on just six carries.
Southwestern had 111 rushing yards and 79 passing yards in the 15-point loss to Knox Central. Chase Doan led the Warriors in rushing with 71 yards on 16 carries. Through the air, Blake Burton went 11-of-19 through the air for 79 yards and one touchdown.
Penalty flags were aplenty in this one, as both teams were penalized 16 times for 165 yards. Knox Central was flagged eight times for 90 yards, while the Warriors were flagged on eight occasions for 75 yards.
After back-to-back road games at Madison Southern and Knox Central, the Warriors (1-2) will return home to the Reservation next Friday evening to host the Wayne County Cardinals. Wayne County comes into next week’s game with a 2-1 record on the year.
Follow Michael Childers on Twitter — @MChilders_22