Times Sports Editor
The Evansville Reitz Panthers looked every bit the top contender for another Class 4A state championship on Friday night. Reitz brought an unbeaten record and a 25-game winning streak to Northview and added one more victory to that total with a 42-13 victory that ended the Knights' 2010 campaign.
The Panthers had plenty of size, but it was the team speed that gave the Knights problems throughout the game as Reitz used speedy sophomore fullback, KeAndre Vaughn to get to the corners during the first half. Vaughn's speed allowed him to get to the sideline and race for a 21-yard TD run on the Panthers' first possession.
Second-string quarterback, Dillon Stutsman, started the game behind center and completed a 23-yard pass to Hamilton Carr and Matt McIntosh relieved him and hit Austin Schapker for 23 more yards to the Knights' 21-yard line. From there, Vaughn got the hand off and turned on the jets for a 7-0 Panthers' lead.
"(Evansville Reitz) is an outstanding football team," coach George Gettle said. "It's an outstanding coaching staff. Just athletes and players all over the field, we had a little bit of momentum early on, we just got a couple of guys dinged up and that put us in some personnel situations. Really, we had a hard time fighting through, but hats off to the Reitz ball club."
Northview was able to string together a drive of its own as Trent Lancaster found Damon Hyatt for receptions of 10 and 12 yards. A holding call stalled the d rive and put the Knights in a first-and-18 situation at the Panthers' 44-yard line. Lancaster took the next handoff and scrambled for a 23-yard gain to the 23-yard line and Northview looked to be in business.
Evansville added to its lead on the next drive as McIntosh hit Cuda Dimmett for a 17-yard gain that led to a two-yard QB sneak by McIntosh.
Northview's next drive was short lived as Carr intercepted Lancaster with an athletic, leaping grab on the first play. The Panthers capitalized two plays later as Vaughn raced 46-yards for a 21-0 lead.
Vaughn would add a third score in the second period as part of a 128-yard effort on just seven carries.
Northview drove to midfield on one more drive in the first half and Lancaster had Andrew Butts zipping down the field, but Carr made another leaping interception at the five-yard line.
Leading 28-0, Reitz moved the ball to the 34-yard line before a 15-yard run by Martez Banks set a fourth-down-and-five situation. With time for one more play, McIntosh bought some time in the pocket and found Schapker down the sideline for a 61-yard score to end the half.
After halftime, Reitz began to make some substitutions on both sides of the ball and the Knights got on the board on a 14-yard TD grab by Butts from Lancaster. On the next drive, Jesse Williams ripped off a 22-yard run and Lancaster raced for a 32-yard gain to set up a seven-yard scoring pass to Hyatt to cap the game's scoring.
After the game, Gettle gave his impressions of the Panther's talent.
"It's an outstanding team and it's great to play teams like that because you find out where you're at and need to go. Their coaching staff and kids are a wonderful group," Gettle said. "I wish them the best of luck and I think they are well on their way to being state champs again. Hopefully then we can say the state champions knocked us out of the tournament."
The Knights graduate 16 talented seniors that compiled a mark of 26-15 over four years including three Western Indiana Conference championships.
"I'm real proud of our kids. The senior class has been a tremendous group of kids. It was one of my all-time favorites as far as kids listening and being coachable and working hard," Gettle said. "They are going to be awfully hard to replace no question about it. Each and every one of them brought something different to the table and it's tough when you have to say goodbye to kids like this. It's going to be awfully hard to replace them."
ER -- KeAndre Vaughn 21-yard run (Tyler Hoefling kick), 7:25
ER -- Matt McIntosh two-yard run (Hoefling kick), 1:09
ER -- Vaughn 46-yard run (Hoefling kick), 0:35
ER -- Vaughn eight-yard run (Hoefling kick), 6:57
ER -- McIntosh 61-yard pass to Austin Schapker (Hoefling kick), 0:00
ER -- McIntosh 24-yard pass to Demarco Meriweather (Hoefling kick), 2:50
Nv -- Trent Lancaster 14-yard pass to Andrew Butts (kick failed), 0:04
Nv -- Lancaster seven-yard pass to Damon Hyatt (Trey Boor kick), 5:28
Rushing -- Northview 31-142 (Damon Hyatt 1-1, Lancaster 17-46, Miller 7-66, Shaffer 6-39), ER 28-226 (Vaughn 7-128, McIntosh 1-11, Carr 3-39, McKee 1-0, Banks 7-49, Fleming 2-(-1), Merriweather 1-(-2), Johnston 4-(-2), Ricketts 1-5, Mossberger 1-(-1).)
Passing -- Northview (Lancaster 11-18 120 yards, 2 Int., 2 TD), ER (McIntosh 8-12 151 0 Int., 1 TD, Stutsman 4-4 62 yards, 0 Int., 1 TD, Johnston 0-0 0 yards, 0 Int., 0 TD).
Receiving -- Northview (Hyatt 8-49 TD, Butts 2 19 TD, Niehaus 1-49), ER (Tidwel 2-25, Carr 2-26, Dimmett 2-2, Schapker 2-84 TD, Vaughn 1-7, Merriweather 1-24 TD, Banks 1-12).
Next game --Northview (8-3, 6-0 in WIC) ends its season while Evansville Reitz (11-0 overall) advances to the sectional championship game.