ELNORA — It was a miserable night for football and a beautiful night for North Knox.
Quarterback Reece Hammelman rushed for 147 yards and three touchdowns, and the Warriors clinched their first outright Southwest Conference title Friday with a 44-12 victory over Class A honorable mention North Daviess.
On a rain-soaked field with 20 mph winds, North Knox’s straightaway rushing offense dominated by bolting to a 30-0 second-quarter lead and was never threatened.
Rhett Sheren, filling in for injured area-leading rusher Cole Richter, added 119 yards running and a score. The Warriors (5-3, 3-0 Southwest) amassed 403 yards on 50 carries. The Cougars (5-3, 2-1 Southwest) received 223 yards passing and two touchdowns from Tanner Reed, but were held to minus-50 yards rushing on 18 tries.
“In these conditions, we didn’t want to extend the game too much by throwing the ball,” North Knox coach Josh Chambers said. “With Reece, we felt like with an extra blocker, we could get some things. Reece did a nice job of finding his way through there. Rhett had a nice game too, moving the ball well.”
The Warriors have been in the league since its inception in 2005. The conference has gone from seven teams to four, with Linton, Dugger and Wood Memorial leaving for various reasons. Despite some good teams in the past coached by Shawn McDowell, North Knox hadn’t finished first alone in the conference until Friday.
“Winning the conference is good. We dominated in all three games, which I thought we could do with our team before the season started,” Chambers said. “These kids deserve it for the work they put in.”
North Knox scored touchdowns on four of its first five possessions in taking over the game quickly.
Troy Noland blocked North Daviess’ first punt and the Warriors took over on the Cougars’ 24. Hammleman sneaked in from the 1 for the game-opening score.
The Warriors also scored on drives of 70, 55 and 40 yards in the opening half. Hammelman had the big score, a 62-yard keeper on fourth down-and-2 for the game’s second score. Holtman Doades and Zach Boyles had scoring runs of 22 and 10 yards.
Ted Lamson and DJ Owens caught TD passes of 5 and 53 yards in the second and third quarter for North Daviess, sandwiching a Sheren 18-yard TD run.
Down 36-12, the Cougars were driving again, but Sheren intercepted Reed in the end zone. From there, North Knox marched 80 yards in 14 plays. Hammelman surged in from the 1, the game’s last score with 7:56 remaining.
“We got sloppy in the third quarter, but at the end of the day we had a goal-line stand, got the ball and marched it all the way down the field and scored the final points,” Chambers said.
“We played a lot of young guys. We played a freshman at cornerback, Levi Bunte, who played a good game against a team really trying to throw it,” Chambers said. “Zach Boyles continues to do whatever we ask of him and play well.
“Our defensive line continues to be physical. They were getting after people.”
The Warriors entertain Washington at 7 p.m. next Friday on senior night.
NORTH KNOX 44, NORTH DAVIESS 12
First downs |23 |10
Passing (C-A-I) |11-20-1 |10-24-1
Passing yards |20 |223
Total yards |423 |173
Penalties-yards |9-100 |3-15
SCORE BY QUARTERS
North Knox|14-16-6-8 — 44
North Daviess |0-6-6-0 — 12
NK — Reece Hammelman 1 run (pass failed) 7:54 1st qtr.
NK — Hammelman 62 run (Holtman Doades pass from Hammelman) 2:13 1st qtr.
NK — Doades 22 run (Zach Boyles run) 8:51 2nd qtr.
NK — Boyles 10 run (Doades run) 3:47 2nd qtr.
ND — Ted Lamson 5 pass from Tanner Reed (run failed) :39 2nd qtr.
NK — Rhett Sheren 18 run (run failed) 9:40 3rd qtr.
ND — DJ Owens 53 pass from Reed (pass failed) 9:23 3rd qtr.
NK — Hammelman 1 run (Boyles run) 7:56 4th qtr.
RUSHING — North Knox: Hammelman 12-147 (3 TDs), Sheren 19-119 (TD), Doades 9-84 (TD), Brayden Haislip 7-23, Cole Richter 2-20, Boyles 1-10 (TD). North Daviess: Zo Jeffers 1-(-1), Joshua Krusenklaus 1-(-7), Owens 13-(-17), Reed 3-(-25).
PASSING — North Knox: Hammelman 2-5-0, 20. North Daviess: Reed 18-32-3, 223 (2 TDs).
RECEIVING — North Knox: Boyles 1-17, Troy Noland 1-3. North Daviess: Jeffers 4-61, Owens 2-58 (TD), Lansom 8-43 (TD), Jalen Knepp 2-40, Hunter Fine 1-11, Krusenklaus 1-10.