North Knox scores 35 before halftime in league rout
FARMERSBURG — North Knox’s football team was ready to give it to somebody, and unfortunately for North Central it was next up Friday.
Carter Lemberg rushed for 148 yards and two touchdowns, Mason Lyons threw for a TD and ran in for a score, and the Warriors scored on all of their points before halftime in a 35-0 Southwest Conference victory.
North Knox (2-3, 2-0 Southwest) entered the game on a two-game losing streak and was coming off a heartbreaking 13-7 overtime loss to Boonville. But the Warriors did their work early Friday, forcing a running clock the entire second half due to the IHSAA rule for a 35-point lead.
The Thunderbirds (1-3, 0-2), coming off a 40-28 win over Princeton, was held to 147 yards. Most of that came against North Knox reserves in the second half. It was the Warriors 12th consecutive conference victory.
“We had that attitude from the start and that was the whole goal,” Warriors coach Josh Chambers said. “My team is starting to figure it out. At the beginning of the season, it wasn’t whether we had the ability to play, it was whether we had the ability to put it all together. We have a lot of new faces.
“My whole thing is by Week 9, we’re peaking. So whether we’re playing a great team or a mediocre team, we need to make sure that we’re taking another step,” he said. “We did that in this game.”
The Warriors showed off their running attack, defense and even some passing in bolting to a 14-0 lead in less than seven minutes.
North Knox went 68 yards in just six plays on the game’s first possession, with Lemberg rushing in on a 28-yard burst up the middle.
Lineman Keaton Wade recovered a North Central fumble on the T-birds 42 on the hosts’ fifth offensive play of the game. Lyons immediately took advantage, connecting with Devan Kent on a 42-yard bomb to take it to 14-0 with 5:31 on the first-quarter clock.
About the only Warriors’ negative was five penalties for 60 yards in the opening quarter.
A holding penalty negated an 89-yard Caleb Bottum touchdown run. It was the only possession in the first half, without the clock running out, that North Knox didn’t score.
In the second quarter, the Warriors tallied three times in the span of 5 1/2 minutes.
Lemberg finished a five-play, 59-yard drive with a 24-yard gallop at 7:41.
A 34-yard Lane Adams punt return set up North Knox on North Central’s 29. It took eight plays but Lyons sneaked it in from the 1 with 2:28 to go to take the lead to 28.
It only took 13 seconds to score again. The T-birds tried a backward pass that was bobbled and dropped. Jean Pierre, who moved in from Florida right before school started, alertly picked up the ball and rumbled 21 yards for the score. Lyons, who passed for a season-high 79 yards, converted his fifth consecutive point-after kick to take the lead to 35.
“It’s always nice to see a big score,” said Chambers of Pierre, who also registered a first-quarter sack.
Turnovers, a Warriors bugaboo all season, was only slightly better Friday. North Knox forced three turnovers, but committed two. The turnover margin for the season improved to minus-5.
“The JV kids did a nice job when we put them in. We got a couple of nice looks from some people. We had a whole hodgepodge of kids at the end, but I’m proud of them,” said Chambers, liking the shutout.
“Getting a win for these kids is huge. We played horribly two weeks ago at Tecumseh, and the game just slipped through our fingers like water last week. We’re starting to mature a bit, and as the season progresses, I like where we’re going. The minus-5 is killing me, but we’re starting to protect the ball better.”
The Warriors have its homecoming game at 7 p.m. next Friday against Pike Central.
NORTH KNOX 35, NORTH CENTRAL 0
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SCORE BY QUARTERS
North Knox|14-21-0-0 — 35
North Central |0-0-0-0 — 0
NK — Carter Lemberg 28 run (Mason Lyons kick) 8:58 1st qtr.
NK — Devan Kent 42 pass from Lyons (Lyons kick) 5:31 1st qtr.
NK — Lemberg 24 run (Lyons kick) 7:41 2nd qtr.
NK — Lyons 1 run (Lyons kick) 2:28 2nd qtr.
NK — Jean Pierre 21 fumble return (Lyons kick) 2:15 2nd qtr.
RUSHING — North Knox: Lemberg 11-148 (2 TDs), Caleb Bottum 7-54, Aven Saucerman 5-24, Lyons 3-8 (TD), Lane Adams 3-3, Camden McCory 1-2. North Central: Dillion Prewitt 13-43, Lane Hargis 7-21, Nathan Manning 3-20, Kam Fagg 8-17, Kagen Taylor 1-2.
PASSING — North Knox: Lyons 3-6-1, 79 (TD). North Central: Fagg 6-9-0, 44.
RECEIVING — North Knox: Kent 1-42 (TD), Blayne Boger 1-30, Lemberg 1-7. North Central: Hargis 3-34, Jaxon Adams 1-8, Prewitt 1-8, Manning 1-(-6).