Knights Advance Down Playoff Trail
GRAETTINGER – A week’s layoff contributed t a bit of a slow start for Graettinger-Terril in their playoff opener Wednesday night, but after shaking out the cobwebs, the Knights earned a 46-32 win over Remsen St. Mary’s and a re-match with season opening opponent Remsen-Union in Monday’s second round play off game at Remsen.
The Knights rode the rushing express of Nate Howard, who would power his way to five scores on the night and 246 yards of rushing off 26 carries in the winning effort. Two of Howard’s scoring strikes came off 65-yard runs in the contest, which didn’t see the Knights score until well into the second quarter at Evergreen Park on Wednesday night.
St. Mary’s would actually draw first blood midway through the first quarter to take a 6-0 lead at the end of the first frame, but the Knights would come storming back in the second quarter.
A pass from Eric Hatland to Colin Leiting covered 20 yards and tied the game and a two-point run by Nate Howard gave the Knights the lead back.
St.Mary’s would answer quickly with a 14 yard pass of their own to retake the lead at 14-8, but on the ensuing kick, Nate Howard went 65 yards for the score and a 14-14 tie. After the defense forced three and out for St. Marys’ the Knights got the ball back and Howard broke free to race 65 yards once again for the go-ahead score and a 20-14 lead at the intermission.
With both teams fired up and ready to resume battle after an exciting first half, the pace continued in the second half.
St. Marys would tie the game back up at 20-20 early in the third off a short run, but the Knights countered in the chess match with Howard scoring off a 33 yard run. This time, Eric Hatland split the uprights with a conversion kick for a 26-20 Graettinger/Terril advantage.
Remsen wasn’t ready to concede anything just yet, as the Hawks quickly engineered another drive to tie the game back up at 26-26 with time running down in the third frame.
Once again, the Knights turned to power running of Nate Howard, who responded with his fourth touchdown of the game off a 30 yard burst into the end zone.
Eric Hatland added a conversion kick for a 33-26 advantage.
With a bit of breathing room, Graettinger/Terril’s defense stepped up and forced the Hawks into a punt, which set up another Knight scoring drive.
With just :20 remaining in the third stanza, Nate Howard took a handoff and burst through the St. Mary’s defense for a five-yard touchdown plunge and 39-26 lead as the quarter came to a close.
The Knights’ defense would hold firm again to start the final quarter, but St. Mary’s would come up big defensively on their own, picking off a Hatland pass, but Graettinger/Terril returned the favor as Blaze Alesch came up with a pick in the end zone to rob the Hawks of a score with just over 9:00 to go in the game.
Remsen St. Mary’s would get the ball back after the Knights punted, but the end result was another turnover, as Beau Craig came up with an interception to deny the Hawks another opportunity.
Graettinger/Terril would add its final score of the night when Hatland found Colin Leiting in the flat and placed a 64-yard bomb in his hands. Hatland would drill the conversion kick for the 46-26 lead that would hold until St. Mary’s managed to strike a final time off a four-yard pass that make for the 46-32 final tally.
Remsen-St. Marys’ tried an onside kick with time running out, but the Knights recovered to run out the clock for the win.
After Howard’s 246 yards, Eric Hatland made three of 10 passes for 103 yards with one pick. Colin Leiting had two catches for 82 yards and Beau Craig had one catch for 21 yards.
Jeremiah Andrews added 19 yards off four rushes to the Knights’ effort in the win.
Remsen St. Mary’s would finish with 160 yards rushing off 38 attempts and went 13 of 30 for 187 yards with an interception.