KNOB NOSTER — A half yard, or even less, is all that separated Knob Noster and Warsaw Friday night, Sept. 6, on Military Appreciation Night in Knob Noster.
Just plays after dropping what could have been the game-winning interception, Knob Noster senior Mark Burgess righted the ship as he made the game-winning tackle on the two-point conversion attempt a half yard from the end zone to seal a 44-42 Knob Noster victory.
“In the end, we ended up making the big play on defense to hold them out on the two-point conversion,” Knob Noster coach Rich Johnson said.
Burgess’ play is a prime example of what Knob Noster (2-0) faced throughout the game against the Wildcats.
Warsaw would hit Knob Noster with a big play and seem to have all the momentum but was then returned the favor by the Panthers.
“It was back-and-forth,” Johnson said. “We faced adversity with our quarterback getting knocked out in the first quarter and we go to the wildcat. Our kids played tough.”
Wyatt Schreiner started the game at quarterback for Knob Noster on Friday.
After having to punt on its first possession, Knob Noster caught a break as Warsaw muffed the punt and gave the Panthers the ball inside the Wildcat 25 yard line.
The Panthers made the Wildcats pay.
Senior Jadis Williams got his first score of the night that was followed by Iverson Sirom scoring on the two-point conversion to make it 8-0 Panthers.
Warsaw quickly punched back making it 8-8 with a drive that took about three minutes.
“We knew Warsaw was going to be tough,” Johnson said.
The next possession saw trouble for Knob roster as Schreiner took a hard hit, lost the fumble and walked off the field gingerly.
He would not return after that.
The Wildcats took advantage of the short field this time.
Aiden Comer got his first score of the night for Warsaw to give his team the 14-8 lead after the failed two-point conversion.
“They came out and hit us, and we had to come back and hit them,” Johnson said.
Although this time, Knob roster had to do so without its starting quarterback.
Luckily for the Panthers, they had prepared for scenarios such as this one ahead of the season.
Knob Noster was put in a similar situation last year.
The Panthers called upon Sirom and Williams to lead the wildcat offense against the Wildcats.
The junior-senior duo answered the call and responded to losing their starting QB.
“Football is like life, you are not always going to go through life with everything smelling like roses, there are always going to be things that go wrong,” Johnson said. “What my dad always told me is that it is what you do after things go wrong that makes you the person you are. And that is what we try to tell these kids.”
Of the final five Knob roster touchdowns, Sirom accounted for four of them.
Bodie Payne accounted for the other.
The game saw two lead changes and five ties throughout the course of the contest.
Of all four of his scores, Sirom’s touchdown, accompanied by a Williams two-point conversion, with 4:38 left in the game proved to be the difference putting the Panthers up 44-36.
“We are trying to build winners and that is what I asked them in the end zone, I said ‘What’s going on here, is Knob Noster starting to learn to be winners?” and I think that is what they proved tonight is that they can win and fight through adversity,” Johnson said. “This is good for us and good for our team.”
Knob Noster will be home again in week three to host Crest Ridge (2-0) at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 13.