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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

Knights shock visiting Cougars in home opener

Friday, August 20, 2004

Eric Rissler (with ball) bursts through Bloomington North's line in the second quarter for the Knight's first score in a 16-13 victory.

Last season the Knights had plenty of reason to celebrate during a year that saw them register their first winning regular season in quite some time along with a victory over one of the state's top-ranked teams.

If Friday night's performance is indicative, Knight's fans might just be downright partied out by the end of the season.

Northview's defense rocked the Bloomington North Cougars, holding them to just 34 yards rushing and sacking senior quarterback Kyle Stancombe 10 times on the way to a 16-13 victory.

After giving up 50 and 40 points to the Cougars the past two seasons, the Knight's defense appears to be mighty ferocious this season led by a powerful line and some aggressive linebackers.

Senior linebacker put up the most gaudy numbers of the night with five sacks to go along with 153 yards rushing for the Knights.

"Zach (Godsey) he's one of our seniors and one of our fastest players and by far our strongest player," said coach George Gettle. "Wow, what can you say, who wouldn't take that game every week."

That statement might be an understatement as the Knights got a stingy performance from a wealth of players up front defensively.

Northview Defensive Coordinator Dan Mikesell singled out a few players while acknowledging that nearly his entire unit played outstanding. "I'm so proud of these guys tonight, I'm probably more proud tonight then I was after Vincennes," Mikesell said referring to last season's shutout win over the top-ranked Alices.

"Neil Vanatti did a great job tonight," Mikesell said. "On the last fourth down stop he got cutblock, but rolled off and still made a play. Cory Grigsby did a great job of making reads and Craig Trout is like having another coach out there on the field."

Despite the final outcome, the Knights got off to a bit of a sluggish start as the Cougars took the opening possession down the field 56 yards for a score on a 19-yard run by junior Daniel Carter.

Carter would pick up 36 yards and the touchdown on eight first half carries before leaving with a leg injury.

In his absence, the Knights stuffed the Cougars rushing attack.

After the North touchdown the Knight's defense was pushed with their backs to the wall as Northview had their punt blocked after going three-and-out on offense.

The Cougars took over at the Northview 22-yard line and the Knights were faced with what Gettle called the 'turning point of the game'.

North ripped off a 17-yard run to pick up first-and-goal at the five-yard line. The Northview defense responded by stopping Carter for a two-yard game on first down and Stancombe threw an incomplete pass on the next play before the defense stacked up Carter for a one-yard loss to bring up fourth-and-goal.

The Cougars lined up for a field goal, faked it and were stopped on an incompletion to give the Knights back the ball.

"In my eyes that was the turning point," said Gettle. "We could have been digging out of a hole, but instead we held them."

Northview would even the score in the second quarter after the Cougars botched a punt on their own 31-yard line. The resulting recovery gave the Knights possession at the Bloomington 29-yard line. A 20-yard pass play from Broc Miller to T.J. King set up a nine-yard jaunt for Eric Rissler to knot the score. The extra point kick gave the Knights a lead they would not relinquish.

The Knights got the opening kickoff of the second half and on the first play from scrimmage Godsey ripped off the left tackle to go 80 yards down the left sideline to send the packed Northview stands into hysterics with a 13-6 advantage.

Cue the Northview special teams.

On the ensuing kickoff, North's kick returner broke through the Northview lines and was off the races, except for the fact that kicker Brock Crooks was anxiously awaiting his arrival.

Crooks stuck the returner on the Knight's 36-yard line, saving a sure touchdown which would later look even more important.

The score would remain 13-6 into the fourth quarter as the Knight's defense stifled the Cougars, holding them to a combined 26 yards in the third period that setup Crooks final heroics.

On a fourth-and-21 punt from the Cougar 31-yard line, an Aaron Bays punt was touched by a Cougar player and Jamie Bays recovered the ball for the Knights, eventually setting up a 39-yard field goal from Crooks that put the Knights up 16-6 with 5:33 left.

The Cougars would score on a 17-yard TD run by Morris and would get one last shot after a Northview punt.

However, the Knights defense capped off the night on three consecutive sacks, two and a half by Godsey and a half by Jeremiah Allen that finished off the Cougars.

"They've really put it to us the last couple of years," said Gettle of North. "This is a big win for us and gives us momentum going into our first WIC game next week versus Edgewood."

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