KNOX – Class 3A No. 11 ranked Knox controlled every aspect of its Sectional 25 semifinal against visiting Twin Lakes, and came away with a 36-7 victory against the Indians (4-7).
The Redskins (10-1) racked up 338 yards of offense in the first half and held Twin Lakes to just 56. They scored on every drive except when they took a knee to finish the first half.
“They won nine games for a reason and I think they played at an even higher level tonight,” Twin Lakes head coach Scott Mannering said. “They are very well coached, and we got beat by a better team.”
The Redskins led 14-0 before Twin Lakes picked up a first down and could gather its footing.
“I was concerned after they drove the ball down the field twice and we couldn’t make a first down. They really made a statement,” Mannering said. “We had a great plan tonight, but we weren’t prepared for their speed and physical play.
“Scheme-wise, we were solid on both sides of the ball. We just couldn’t match their level of play.”
Knox running back Payton Baugh had 178 yards on 14 carries. He also scored four touchdowns.
Knox head coach John Hendryx thought his team played with a chip on its shoulder, especially early.
“I think our conference helped us prepare for Twin Lakes as much as anything. People give us a lot of grief about who we play, but we have Pioneer that is a great Wing-T team and then you have Culver that is a power football team,” Hendryx said. “We also see spread teams and that gets us ready for a lot of stuff.”
Hendryx and Mannering have a long history of playing against each other from Hendryx’s days at Carroll and Northwestern and Mannering’s at Lewis Cass.
“Scott and I have a long history and I love him to death. I hope this isn’t his last football game. I hope he coaches for another 20 years because he is as good as there is in Indiana,” Hendryx commented.
Twin Lakes, which racked up more than 700 yards of offense against Hanover Central in a sectional victory Oct. 25, finished with just 125 yards in the loss. The Indians graduate 15 players.
“We struggled offensively the entire game, especially the first half,” Mannering said. “This was a game that we needed better production to keep them off the field more to help our defense.”