Knights title shot takes a big hit in road game
By Ross Pattermann
The Cornell-Lake Holcombe Knights Football team will need some help to win a share of the Lakeland Conference title this year, after dropping a heartbreaker on the road to the Unity Eagles Oct. 11. The Knights were on the road in Balsam Lake, as two teams pitted their perfect conference records against one another.
The Knights held an early advantage, but could not maintain it, falling, 14-8, for their first conference loss.
“It was a very tough loss for us,” said coach Troy Story. “Unity was able to score twice in the last two minutes.”
The Knights got on the board early, scoring in the first quarter off a one-yard run from Kaden Kinney. A two-point conversion gave the Knights an 8-0 advantage, but this would be the first and only time the Knights would punch the ball into the endzone.
It was almost all they needed, with Cornell-Lake Holcombe holding the lead through all but the final seconds.
The Knights’ defense gave up just 243 yard of offense, with the Eagles using a combination of ground game and air attack to move the ball. Unity would finish with 62 plays on offense, to Cornell-Lake Holcombe’s 50.
Neither team scored in the second quarter and the Knights took a 8-0 lead into the locker room.
The Knights defense continued to hold the Eagles scoreless in the third, benefitting from a monster night on turnovers, as the Knights wreaked havoc on the Eagles’ offense, with Caleb Balow hauling in one interception, and Josh Jones, Tate Sauerwein and Brock Flater each recovering a fumble.
The Eagles finally got on the scoreboard late in the fourth quarter, scoring off a 26-yard touchdown pass from Jake Bloomer to Luke Flaherty, with just 1:30 remaining in regulation. The Knights prevented the tie by stopping the two-point conversion, then the biggest play of the game occurred, on what would prove to be a controversial call, as the Eagles recovered a questionable onside kick.
With hardly more than a minute to play, the Eagles took to the air and with just six seconds on the clock, Bloom found Jack Nelson for a 13-yard touchdown that gave the Eagles their first lead of the game.
A successful two-point conversion made it 14-8 and the Knights fell for the first time in conference action, dropping to 5-1 in league play and 5-3 overall.
Sauerwein led the offense with 70 rushing yards on 21 carries, Aden Story added 31 yards on the ground, while Jones and Kinney had 16 and 15 rushing yards. Sauerwein added 8 tackles on defense, followed by Kinney with 6. Story had 3 tackles for loss, including one sack.
Cornell-Lake Holcombe is still in the hunt for the title, but will need to defeat a tough Grantsburg squad on the road, then hope that Elmwood-Plum City can pull off the upset over the Eagles. No matter what happens in the week, the Knights are assured two things – a winning record and a spot in the post-season for a third consecutive year.
Jake Ackley, Cadott sophomore, tries to get away from a Colby competitor Oct. 11, as Cadott took on their foe on the road. It was not to be, as Colby held Cadott scoreless, leaving the final score at 20-0.
Photo by Ross Pattermann
Junior Kaden Crank takes off after a pass for Cornell-Lake Holcombe against Turtle Lake Sept. 13. The Knights started slow, but came from behind for a 32-30 win.
Photo by Ginna Young