With fewer than five minutes remaining in Friday night’s Region 5-4A meeting between White Knoll and River Bluff, Timberwolves coach Dean Howell faced a choice. His team held a seven-point lead and could either attempt to convert a fourth-and-inches or rely on its defense to hold back River Bluff’s powerful attack.
Howell chose to go for it, and a sneak by quarterback Calev Grubbs produced a first down, which led to an insurance touchdown. It proved to be invaluable when White Knoll had to sweat out a late Gators score and recover an onside kick to clinch a 35-28 win.
“It was stressful,” Howell said. “We had a chance to put them away and we didn’t do it. But the kids did what we had to do.”
River Bluff (7-3, 2-2 region) rallied to tie the game early in the third quarter. But Gary Shell broke a 57-yard fullback trap up the middle to put White Knoll (7-3, 2-2) ahead for good.
When Shell broke through the line on a fourth-quarter dive play for his third score to make it 35-21 with 1:56 left on the clock.
Maurice Jones, RB White Knoll: The workhorse back got things going early with an 80-yard run and finished with 174 total yards.
Calev Grubbs, QB White Knoll: Grubbs ground out tough yards, running for 47 and passing for 69.
21: Yards the Timberwolves’ defense allowed on the Gators’ two late drives with a one-score lead.
1-for-3: River Bluff scored only one touchdown and settled for two field goals.
THEY SAID IT
“I’m going to tell you who is the real warrior in this whole deal here is — the quarterback at White Knoll, Calev (Grubbs) … Calev after school, during his independent learning time, rehabbed (a high ankle sprain) we heard about five hours a day. And Shiela (Gordon), their trainer, she might be the MVP of the game.” – David Bennett, River Bluff coach
“Good game against River Bluff. That’s a real good team over there, but the best team came out on top, and that’s White Knoll.” – Gary Shell, White Knoll fullback
HOW THEY SCORED
RB – Johnson 33 pass from Tillmon (Salter kick), 9:50
WK – Jones 80 run (Fulmer kick), 9:36
WK – Jones 7 run (Fulmer kick), 5:40
RB – Salter 40 FG, 1:45
WK – Shell 1 run (Fulmer kick), 5:22
RB – Salter 33 FG, 0:19
RB – Glenn 1 run (Johnson pass from Tillmon), 3:26
WK – Shell 57 run (Fulmer kick), 2:12
WK – Shell 19 run (Fulmer kick), 1:56
RB – Kight 23 pass from Tillmon (Salter kick), 1:16
Rushing: WK: Jones 18-144, Shell 10-117, Grubbs 11-47, TEAM 4-(-8). Totals: 43-300. RB: Tillmon 21-90, Glenn 12-48, Pollard 7-16, Johnson 2-12. Totals: 42-166.
Passing: WK: Grubbs 5-6-0-69. RB: Tillmon 15-22-1-160.
Receiving: WK: Jones 2-30, Shell 1-21, McInnis 1-11, Crosby 1-7. RB: Johnson 6-72, Kight 5-59, Pollard 2-6, Ledell 1-12, Connell 1-11.