White Knoll came into the Lexington game reeling with three straight losses and they needed to break the stronghold the Wildcats had in recent years to stop the slide.
Thanks to a standout defensive effort and the running of Maurice Jones, the Timberwolves hung on for a 17-14 victory to snap a four-game losing streak in the series. White Knoll had also lost nine of its last 10 against its rival.
“It’s nothing personal with those guys but it’s a big win for our program and school,” White Knoll coach Dean Howell said. “It’s bigger that the seniors that have poured so much into the program and it’s a huge win for them because they hadn’t beat them on the varsity level.”
Jones, who finished with 156 yards, scored two first-half touchdowns to lead the way. White Knoll (5-4, 2-3) scored on its first three possessions and then used a strong defensive effort for 14-yard run the win.
Josue Hernandez opened the scoring with a 41-yard field goal. Lexington answered that score with a 13-run by Donte Davis before Jones took over. He scored on runs of 11 and 15 yards on the next two drives to give the Timberwolves a 17-7 lead at the half.
Jones ran for 124 yards of his 156 yards in the first half.
Lexington (5-4, 2-3) forced a turnover on the second half kick-off and scored three plays later on a 14-yard by sophomore Jordan Hiller to make it 17-14 to close the scoring.
But the Wildcats didn’t lack for chances. In the first half, they fumbled inside the 20-yard line and ended the half at the 5-yard line when they didn’t have any time outs remaining to attempt a field goal.
In the second half, Jacob Chavis blocked a 46-yard field goal and Brandon Serio intercepted a pass at the Timberwolves 10 to end another scoring threat..
“We’re just not making plays,” Lexington coach Josh Stepp said. “We have opportunities to make them and we’re just not making them right now. We’re so inconsistence. That’s been our problem all year.”
Howell was quick to give his team plenty of praise at the end.
“I just told them it was nothing but a life lesson about not quitting and preserving,” he said. “Keep playing, keep playing, keep playing. They did that.”
Lexington had a couple of fourth down tries come up empty in the fourth quarter. The team faked a punt from near midfield and came up a yard short with 10:07 remaining, Then on its final drive, Lexington converted one fourth down, but on a fourth-and-5 from the Timberwolves 45-yard line, the pass attempt sailed out of bounds.
Jordan Hiller: The sophomore was a receiver until the last two weeks but he moved to running back and put up 206 yards on 30 carries.
Brandon Serio: The White Knoll senior linebacker was a tackling machine and his interception in the red zone turned out to be key.
118: Lexington had outscored White Knoll by 118 points in the four-game winning streak.
2: Number of turnovers by Lexington in the Red Zone.
THEY SAID IT
“Before we went out our coaches told us to always prevail no matter the circumstances and that’s what we did. We knew this was a must win situation and we came out and showed people who White Knoll really is.” – Serio
“They stuffed us in the third quarter but when we had to have a drive in the fourth, we did it. I would have liked to see us finish but it’s still a huge win for us.” – Howell
“We had some good things going in the first half. We did some things in the second half but just turned it over too much. We have to protect the football. We’re going through a tough time.” – Stepp
HOW THEY SCORED
WK – Josue Hernandez 41 FG 6:04
L – Donte Davis 13 run (Gunnar Kennedy kick) 3:55
WK – Maurice Jones 11 run (Hernandez kick) 11:17
WK – Jones 15 run (Hernandez kick) 4:24
L – Jordan Hiller 14 run (Kennedy kick) 9:31
Rushing: WK – Maurice Jones 28-156, Albert Hope 6-80, Dougls Summers 5-22, Jacob Jeffcoat 4-8, Team 2-(-5). L – Jordan Hiller 30-206, Chase Crouch 11-72, Donte Davis 5-29, William Crouch 1-5, David Jacobs 1-1.
Passing: WK – Jeffcoat 12-16-0-65. L – Crouch 9-25-1-99, Team 0-1-0-0.
Receiving: WK – Jayllen Crosby 4-27, Keon Clary 4-25, Clayton Lindsay 1-10, Braydon Clariday 2-4, Summers 1-7, Sam Hayes 1-(-4), Jones 1-(-4). L – Oscar Ferguson 6-65, Trey Norman 2-24, Mitchell McGee 1-10.