Mistake-prone Mac cruises past Crockett anyway

Despite turnovers and two long Cougar scores, Knight defense, running attack overwhelms undermanned foe

After+the+Knights+squandered+their+first+red+zone+trip+with+an+end+zone+interception%2C+Crockett+inexplicably+tried+a+fake+punt+deep+in+its+own+territory.+When+that+desperate+effort+failed%2C+senior+running+back+Andres+Rodriguez+took+full+advantage%2C+rushing+two+yards+for+into+the+end+zone+for+the+game%27s+first+score.

Lindsey Plotkin

After the Knights squandered their first red zone trip with an end zone interception, Crockett inexplicably tried a fake punt deep in its own territory. When that desperate effort failed, senior running back Andres Rodriguez took full advantage, rushing two yards for into the end zone for the game’s first score.

Lindsey Plotkin, Knight co-editor in chief

Friday the 13th is known as being a cursed night, but for the Knights, the curse of losing fell on the Crockett Cougars. The Knight defense, led by junior safety Jake Hissey helped the Knights to a 38-14 win over the Cougars. 

After starting off the game slow on offense with a goal-line interception for junior quarterback Jaxon Rosales, the defense cleaned up the mess by earning the ball on downs inside of the Cougar 10 yard line. Caleb Green led the charge to stuff a fake punt attempt on fourth-and-17 to give the Knights the ball back with optimal field position. 

Taking full advantage of the field position, senior running back Andres Rodriguez carried the ball two yards into the end-zone for the first score of the game, and junior kicker Silvio Guzman converted the extra point to give the Knights a 7-0 lead. 

During a second Cougar fake punt attempt, junior safety Ez Guenther knocked the ball from Crockett punter Cameron Dickey’s hands, leading to a fumble recovered by senior defensive end La’mar Davis. 

Whether it was fearless or foolish (or both), the Cougars attempted a second fake punt deep in their own territory in the first quarter. The second attempt failed as miserably as the first, but this time junior safety Ez Guenther (No. 9) forced Crockett punter Cameron Dickey to fumble, and senior defensive end La’mar Davis (No. 30) recovered, leading to this celebration of a turnover that would lead to a second touchdown and an early 14-0 lead for the Knights. Photo by Lindsey Plotkin.

Sophomore Miles McCollum, who has emerged in this first varsity season as an impact player in all three phases of football (offense, defense and special teams), ran the ball in from the 1-yard line to finish the drive before Guzman added the extra point. In addition to playing running back and defensive lineman, McCollum is also the punter and was able to pin the Cougars back inside their own five-yard line with one of his punts.

“Scoring felt pretty good,” McCollum said. “Even though they were little two-yard punch-ins, it still felt good to get touchdowns.”

For the rest of our games, we want defensive shutouts, no points scored on us for the rest of the season.”

— sophomore defensive lineman Miles McCollum

Despite a strong defensive effort by the Knights, Crockett running back Trey Batts was able to break through the defensive line and race 58 yards to the end zone for the Cougars to make the score 21-7 headed into halftime.

Jaxon Rosales led the Knights on a messy second quarter drive, filled with penalties, a fumble, sloppy play and, ultimately, a punt. A fumble in the backfield was bobbled and re-fumbled by many a Knight and Cougar until it was eventually recovered by Nate Davidson, leading to a third and about 35, followed by a penalty. 

Following the punt by the Knights, Charlie Pecina knocked down an attempt at a Cougar pass play leading to fourth down and a punt. After two failed fake punts, the Cougars actually tried to punt, but instead the ball was fumbled mulitlple times by both teams, leading the people watching the game to question if they were watching football or hot potato. Despite the craziness, the fumble was recovered by the Knights, who used the drive to run out the quarter and head to the locker room for halftime. 

The Knights had a two-touchdown lead but they were not happy about how they had played. After a sloppy first half, the Knights had a lot to talk about in the halftime locker room.

“[Coach G’s halftime speech] was definitely [all] heart because we’re a better team and it was all on us,” Rodriguez said. “We were messing up, making a lot of mental mistakes and small mistakes.”

Following Coach G’s inspiring halftime speech, standout junior safety Jake Hissey gave the Knights an energizing start to the second half, running a punt back for a touchdown. Hissey fielded the punt around midfield before finding a hole to his right and taking off. After breaking a tackle, Hissey stayed in bounds and tip-toed down the sideline and into the end zone for his second touchdown of the season. 

Perhaps inspired by his coach’s heartfelt halftime speech, junior Jake Hissey took a Crockett punt more than half the field for third-quarter Knight touchdown. If you are thinking that Crockett’s punt team had a bad game Friday night, you would not be wrong. Photo by Caleb Melville.

“First punt return touchdown,” Hissey said. “It felt great, I saw the big hole and I knew I was gonna score. I wouldn’t mind a kick return touchdown and a pick six.” 

Hissey should have specified that he wanted to be the interceptor because the pick six that came next was for the wrong team.

[We] definitely [need to] get the mental mistakes cleared [up]; that’s a priority right now, and we just have to execute.”

— senior running back Andres Rodriguez

After a defensive stop, Jaxon Rosales attempted a short screen pass to Andres Rodriguez, but was picked off by Batts who had an open field and returned the interception 67 yards for his second touchdown of the game  to make the score 28-14. 

In the fourth quarter, Jaxon Rosales scored on a quarterback run following a one-handed catch in traffic by Brock Fanning to convert on fourth and 12. 

On the following drive for the Knights, Major Faught fumbled the ball, but the Cougars’ drive was short lived after a Hissey interception. 

“I mean I saw the ball in the air I went up and got it,” Hissey said.” 

Hissey’s interception sealed the game for the Knights, giving them the ball back with about 30 seconds left on the clock, allowing Jaxon Rosales to take a knee and end the game.

“We just came together and executed,” Rodriguez said after the game. “We executed at a high level, and we just came, did our jobs, and got the dub. [We] definitely [need to] get the mental mistakes cleared [up]; that’s a priority right now, and we just have to execute. We’re a good team and we have a high chance. We just have to execute at a higher level, just making sure we do the little things right. We’ll get there.”

Due to some schedule changes caused by COVID-19, the Knights will have a bye week the week of Nov. 20, before returning against the Travis Rebels for the Battle of the Bell the week of Thanksgiving. 

“For the rest of our games we want defensive shutouts, no points scored on us for the rest of the season and we want to make a good impression on the playoffs and go as deep as we can,” McCollum said. “Our d-line did pretty well. They’re a big part of this win tonight.” 

Despite giving up a big-play touchdown on a 58-yard Trey Batts run, it was another good night for Caleb Green and the Knight defense. The defensive line kept the pressure on junior quarterback Michael Newton all evening forcing premature throws and forcing him out of the pocket. Photo by Caleb Melville.