By Gary Andrews
The Southwood football team took on Southern Wells for the second time this season Friday, with the stakes a lot higher the second time around. The Knights beat Southern Wells 29-22 in the first game of the season on Aug. 23, but Friday night a win would put Southwood in the sectional championship game. Leading 7-0 after the first quarter, the Knights put the gas pedal to the floor in route to a 42-22 win and will host South Adams Friday, Nov. 8.
Southern Wells tried to catch the Knights off guard on the opening kickoff, pooching a kick that the Knights recovered. The Knight offense would put Southern Wells’ defense with their backs to the wall right away when they fumbled on the second play, giving the ball to the Raiders on the 46. The defense would respond, forcing a three and out.
With the ball on the 11, the Knights would go to the run game with Nathan Hollars chewing up yards. Robbie Cole would then hit Danny Goff to the Raider 5, with Cole running it in from 5 yards out to give the Knights a 7-0 lead with 5:38 remaining. Southern Wells would then move the ball themselves, marching to the Southwood 20 when Brett Wyatt recovered a fumble to stall the drive. The teams would trade possessions to end the quarter with the raiders moving the ball again and Southwood leading 7-0.
On the first play of the second quarter, Danny Goff would pick off a Raider pass to stop another drive. On Southwood’s second possession of the quarter the Knights moved the ball to the Raider 12 where they were forced to attempt a field goal that was blocked. With Southern Wells having the ball deep in their own territory the Knights would capitalize. On a monster hit by a host of Knights, Nathan Hollars would pick up a fumble and race 19 yards for a touchdown and Southwood led 14-0 at 5:04. Southern Wells would strike on the second play of their next possession with a 47 yard pass play, going for two and failing and cutting the Knight lead to 14-6.
The rest of the half would be all Southwood, as they would strike twice in less than two minutes. With Cole finding Jackson Blair twice the Knights moved down the field, with Cole scoring from 3yds out with 1:37 left to lead 21-6. Southern Wells would start on their own 15 after the kick off and with a run stop and a sack from Jake Smith the Knights were using time outs. On third down Austin Schlemmer would pick off a Raider pass, taking it to the 15. Three plays later Cole found Blair in the back of the end zone and just like that the Knights led 28-6 at the half.
After scoring just 7 points in the first quarter, then exploding for 21 in the second, the third quarter was like watching a yo-yo as the string was short on the scoring end. The Knight offense struggled, not putting a point on the board with the defense rising to the occasion, holding Southern Wells scoreless as Southwood still led 28-6 with a quarter to go.
With 10:50 left in the fourth quarter the Knights would put to rest any thought of a Southern Wells comeback. After a 10 yard pass to Jackson Blair and a 15 yard pass to Zach Ball ended the third quarter the Knights were off and running. Cole would feed Nathan Hollars on three straight hand offs with Hollars taking it in from12 yards out to give Southwood a 35-6 lead. The Raiders would respond just 46 seconds later on a 61-yard scoring pass and the track meet was on. After an onside kick from Southern Wells that was touched to soon by them, the Knights were off and running again. With the ball on the Raider 38, Cole would connect with Blair who raced for the end zone, scoring his second touchdown of the night to give Southwood a 42-14 lead with 7:18 to go. The Raiders would come right back. On three plays Southern Wells moved the ball 66 yards to score with 6:21 left to make it 42-22. After a Raider onside kick was recovered by Austin Schlemmer, the Knights would work on the clock, running 7 plays before being forced to punt with 1:06 left. Playing with pride, the Knight defense stuffed the Raiders on two plays with the clock running out for the 42-22 win.
For the night Robbie Cole was 11 for 16 for 209 yards, two touchdowns. Nathan Hollars carried the ball 39 times for 202 yards, two touchdowns. John Berlier four times for 22 yards. Jackson Blair had five catches for 105 yards, 2 touchdowns. Keaton Weiss had three catches for 54-yards, Danny Goff, Zach Ball and Nathan Hollars had one catch each. Robbie Cole had two rushing touchdowns.
Southwood will now host South Adams for the sectional title Friday.