By Anthony Jones
Since Triad has debuted their new turf field, there has been no fourth quarter lead less safe than against the Knight at home. In the five games they have hosted since then, they are 5-0 despite trailing entering the fourth quarter in each of their last three games. Overall, they have outscored their opponents 58-0 in the fourth quarter on their turf field.
Their great defense of their home field was no different this past Friday night as they took down a 3-0 Civic Memorial squad.
Triad Head Coach Paul Bassler said of his team’s continued success on their new field, “The kids are obviously taking great pride in the field and taking care of home. We’re going to keep playing our rear ends off here.”
The visiting Mississippi Valley Conference foes started the game off strong as they drove into Triad territory. The Knights defense stiffened however and a big sack by Sam Wheeler pushed the Eagles back into their own territory, where they were forced to punt the ball away.
Starting from their own 18 yard line, Triad’s offense had their work cut out for them. Slowly but surely, they marched their way downfield and a fullback Jackson Buck carried them into Eagle’s territory off a big run.
Another long run, this time from Ryan Hazelwood, ended the drive as he scored a 33 yard touchdown for the Knights. Jake Ellis booted the point after try to put the Knights up 7-0.
Looking to respond with a score of their own, Civic Memorial’s quarterback Bryer Arview marched his team down the field with a couple of quick strikes. He found an open Luke Parmentier down the sideline to set the visiting offense up at the Triad 17 yard line.
The very next play, Arview found an open Nick Brosseau for a 17 yard touchdown pass. An Eagle’s extra point knotted things up at 7-7.
After forcing a Knight’s punt and the end of the first quarter, Civic Memorial began marching downfiel again. Parmentier made another huge play for the Eagles to end the drive, as he made a great play on a ball in the air and threw off two defenders on his way to a 56 yard touchdown catch. Another successful point after try grew their lead to 14-13.
Looking to respond, Triad’s offensive unit put together an impressive drive. Thanks to a nice pass from Nic Funk, Jason Randoll advanced the Knight’s to Civic Memorial’s 39 yard line. Buck would also make a big play for the drive as he picked up a fourth and one from the ground.
As Triad was set up with a first down from their opponent’s 12 yard line, it looked like they couldn’t be stopped. That would quickly change however as they coughed up a fumble that the Eagles recovered at their own two yard line.
After a quick punt was forced by Triad’s defense, their offensive unit returned to the field looking for redemption. They quickly were faced with a third and long, but Randoll bounced a run outside and advanced to the Eagle’s 16 yard line to energize the drive. Funk took a keeper outside on the very next snap and scored a key touchdown run.
A bobbled snap on the subsequent extra point was picked up by Funk who found an open teammate, but the Civic Memorial defense rallied and brought the receiver down just short of the goal line.
Clutching onto their one point lead, Civic Memorial looked to take control off the game late in the third quarter as they picked off a pass and returned it to the Triad 31 yard line. Faced with a short field to defend, Triad’s defense stiffened and forced a turnover on downs after surrendering a mere 6 yards on the drive.
On the ensuing drive that stretched into the fourth quarter, Triad began a takeover of the game in all faces. They took the ball 75 yards down field, where Funk would finish the drive off with a one yard rush. The Knights also made up for their previous failed point after, as Funk rolled out and found an open Roger Wolf to grow the lead to 21-14.
Thanks to a pair of unsportsmanlike conduct penalties on the visitors after the point after, Triad kicked the ensuing kickoff from the Eagle’s 35 yard line. Well aware of the field position, Triad attempted an onside kick that they nearly recovered, but Civic Memorial would fall on the ball at their own seven yard line.
Another quick stop from Triad’s defense forced their conference foes to punt from their own end zone, which would prove costly as their punter bobbled the snap and Triad’s Donnie Becker wrapped him up for a safety.
Looking to build on their 23-14 advantage, Triad’s offense did not let off the gas pedal. Big runs from Hazelwood and Randoll would move the Knights all the way down to the four yard line, where Buck would punch the ball in. Ellis followed them up with a point after to move the score to its final of 30-14.
Buck finished the day as Triad’s leading rusher, racking up a total of 84 yards on 18 carries, as well as a touchdown. Also playing a key role on offense was Funk, who finished with 58 yards on the ground and 54 in the air.
Despite having a fairly quiet night, Wolf played a huge role for the Knight’s defense. Not only did he lead the team with 7 solo tackles, he never left the side of Civic Memorial’s Parmentier after his second touchdown and effectively shut him down. Alec Gillespie and Kaden Marmon also had nice nights, finishing with five total tackles each.
“They’ve really worked hard and we’ve made so much progress since week one. We were able to do some things tonight and I feel like we’re just starting to get comfortable with what we’re doing,” said head coach Bassler of his team’s success.
Next week, Triad will host their rival Highland Bulldogs. Entering with a 1-3 record, Highland has played a tough schedule so far this year that included the likes of Marion, Edwardsville, and Washington.
Bassler spoke on the upcoming rivalry game, “They’ll be all we want. I’m sure they had a lot of frustrations with a great schedule, they played some really great competition, so they’re battle tested. And again, when we play Highland, we could both be 0-5 or 5-0 it doesn’t matter. Throw the records out the window and just play football, that’s what we’ll do.”