HENDERSONVILLE - Scoring early and often the JPII Knights cruised to victory Friday night over visiting Christian County (KY) 56-8.
The non-region homecoming win improves the Knights to 4-2 overall, and with a looming region contest against MBA, head coach Justin Geisinger says it is nice to build some confidence going into the crucial DII-AAA West region game.
“I think we came out tonight and did what we were supposed to do,” Geisinger said. “Hats off to Christian County, what a first class team and a traditionally rich program. We were able to come out tonight and execute. Defensively I am really proud of those guys and it feels good to get some confidence back as we get ready for region play next week.”
JPII needed just 29 yards on their first offensive series to find the end zone after Christian County punter Austin Hall was downed when his knee touched the turf on his first punt attempt.
Following a few blips in the running game, junior Antwan Roberts burst through the middle for his first score of the night giving his team a 6-0 lead.
Andrew Southard nailed his first of eight extra-point attempts of the night for the 7-0 lead.
Pope scored on four consecutive offensive drives for the 35-0 lead at the half on touchdowns from Brendan Keaton, Rory White (2), and Roberts.
Keaton found the end zone from Watts on a 22-yard pitch-and-catch, White raced 56 yards on a simple bubble screen, Roberts scored his final touchdown of the night on an 82-yard scamper, and White closed out the first half scoring with a simple 9-yard comeback route in the end zone.
Defensively in the first half JPII limped the Colonels to just 91 total yards and three first downs while accumulating 289 yards on offense.
The second half was all about the second and third team unit as the starters watched their teammates put in work on the field.
“That was our challenge at halftime; to create depth for our football team,” Geisinger said. “Guys get dinged up and so we need to find guys that can come in for us and give us quality minutes. It gave us a great opportunity to get a look on tape in the second half and see if there is good effort that can help us down the stretch. That is always important in games like this to get some of those guys looks on both sides of the ball.”
Second half touchdowns were scored by Cade Marino on a 20-yard touchdown pass from Sawyer Watts, a Colin Cook 39-yard bubble screen, and a 5-yard touchdown reception by Fisher Donovan.
JPII will host MBA next Friday night in a crucial region contest. If the Knights have hopes of making the playoffs, a great start would be getting a win at home Friday night.
“It’s always nice to get off the road and have a good home stretch,” Geisinger said. “Right now we are going to enjoy tonight, it is a big homecoming week for us but first thing next week we get ready for a good MBA team.
“I want our guys feeling confident in every game that they play,” Geisinger continued. “MBA has a lot of players and will be ready to play. They give you nothing. Our team learned last week we can’t make errors in region games because this region is so good it will make you play. That said it was nice to have a bounce back game and get our guys back on their feet and have some fun.”