Super sophs lead Knights’ surge to second in district

After a blowout loss to the Jaguars, varsity football team rebounds with two blowout victories of their own

After+a+stepping+up+big+the+past+two+weeks+against+the+Northeast+Raiders+and+the+LASA+Raptors%2C+sophomores%3A+Luke+Dunham%2C+Gus+Ehlers%2C+Mark+Sanchez+and+Mitchell+Butler+pose+for+a+photo.+

Charlie Partheymuller

After a stepping up big the past two weeks against the Northeast Raiders and the LASA Raptors, sophomores: Luke Dunham, Gus Ehlers, Mark Sanchez and Mitchell Butler pose for a photo.

Charlie Partheymuller, Knight editor

After starting the district season with an unstoppable comeback win over the Crockett Cougars, the Knights ran into the district’s immovable object: the LBJ Jaguars. Returning to the 5A scene, after a two-year stint at the 4A level, the Jaguars have been on a mission to prove their worth at the next level after coming home with a semifinals and finals appearance at 4A. They’ve been successful so far, beating the Knights first on their district rampage 68-14, before beating the LASA Raptors and Navarro Vikings by a combined score of 159-0. Since that loss to the Jaguars, the Knights have had to rebound against the Northeast Raiders and the LASA Raptors. 

To start the district season, the Knights have been tested with some challenges: coming back from being down 28-0 to Crockett in the first quarter, playing the LBJ Jaguars and to playing without their star quarterback David Houston in their homecoming game against the Northeast Raiders. Houston was ruled out for this game due to a wrist injury sustained the previous week against the Jaguars. 

I knew we were going to keep the game plan easy for me the first time, a lot of runs”

— Luke Dunham

Stepping into his place and getting his first varsity start at quarterback was sophomore Luke Dunham.

“I felt pretty prepared to start,” said Dunham. “I knew we were going to keep the game plan easy for me the first time, a lot of runs.” 

Dunham was correct with his prediction as the two teams combined to throw only one pass through the scoreless first quarter. Mitchell Butler finally broke the deadlock with a 32-yard touchdown run after a multi-play drive that featured big rushing gains by Butler, Dunham and Drew Andrews midway through the second quarter. To cap off the first half, Butler ran in his second touchdown of the night, this time from one yard out. 

After a half that was made easy for quarterback Luke Dunham in his first start, he showed his prowess with two electric touchdown runs in the second half. (Charlie Partheymuller)

While the offense deserved plenty of credit for their second quarter performance, the defense stepped up big forcing numerous punts and turnovers on downs against a tricky misdirection-heavy Raider offense. To start the second half, the defense forced a punt allowing Dunham to score his first varsity touchdown by running one in on the offense’s ensuing drive. The defense kept up its stellar level of play until the end of the game as well, forcing two more punts and an interception corralled by Gus Ehlers. To wrap up the game, Dunham scampered home from 50 yards out to finalize the Knights’ 28-0 homecoming triumph. 

With the Knights back in the win column and Houston returning to his starting quarterback position for their next game against the LASA Raptors, the team was feeling confident.

“Practices got much more intense after the LBJ game, and we were able to execute much better,” Mark Sanchez said.

The game against the Raptors started slow as the first points weren’t scored until the five minute mark when Houston ran in a touchdown. The Knights only had the ball for two minutes that quarter as the Raptors marched methodically down the field, but the second quarter is where the Knights pulled away. 

Us Sophomores have been given the opportunity to play, and we’ve all just capitalized”

— Mark Sanchez

The defense forced a punt to begin the quarter and within another minute, Houston was back in the end zone after a 43-yard touchdown run. The rest of the quarter was a bit hectic though with two Raptor punts, a Butler touchdown and fumble for the Knights, an interception by Sanchez and finally to end the half, a 72-yard touchdown run by Houston to give the Knights a 28-0 lead. 

For the rest of the game, the Knights got everyone involved with Butler scoring two more touchdowns, Andrews coming in and running another in and Sanchez topping off the game with his first varsity touchdown for a final score of 55-7 in the Knights favor.

After a slow first quarter, the Knights began pouring it on the Raptors. Sophomore running back, Mitchell Butler ran in three touchdowns on the night, his shortest being from one yard out. (Charlie Partheymuller)

Now sitting pretty in second place, the Knights trail only the Jaguars in district. These results came from surges of sophomores stepping up their play: Dunham at quarterback, Butler at running back, Sanchez on offense and defense and Ehlers at linebacker. With everyone clicking and now getting involved, the team is ramping up play at the right time of the season.

“Us Sophomores have been given the opportunity to play, and we’ve all just capitalized,” Sanchez said.