Victoria escapes the hornet’s nest and goes into the lower round
Written by: Erik Stone
Release date: 12/11/2021
VICTORIA-Carson Werth stormed for 221 yards and three touchdowns and Victoria’s defense forced two key turnovers as the Knights pulled away from Dighton to win 46-28 on Friday night and advance to the sub-state finals for the second straight year.
The Division II eight-man quarter-final competition got off to a difficult start for the Knights when they botched the opening start and allowed the Hornets to begin their first drive in Victoria Territory. Dighton was on the Knights seven-yard line before a fourth and one, but they were stopped on downs and it took Victoria only three plays to score first when Werth pulled down a 60-yard touchdown run to move Victoria after to bring the duel with 8-0 in the lead. Dot conversion.
However, Dighton responded and took the lead at the end of the first quarter as a result of two Max Neeley touchdown passes to Daniel Cramer from 63 and 20 yards for a 14-8 advantage. This marked the first time Victoria had played since the second half of her game at Sylvan-Lucas on Jan.
Victoria’s defense kept the game close. Thaddeus Wohler intercepted two Neeley passes and the Knights were able to withdraw thanks to two touchdowns. The Knights regained the lead 16:14 after Wohler cut a seven-game, 49-yard drive with a 7-yard touchdown pass to Seth Schwien. After Wohler’s second interception in as many drives, he hit a 59-yard pass with Taylor Anderson, which gave the Knights a first and a goal. Two games later, Werth ran in from three meters and Victoria held a 24-14 half-time lead.
After a penalty against Victoria before the start of the second half, Dighton was in good field position and found the end zone again when Neeley hit Cramer for the third time from 20 yards and the two-point conversion shortened the Hornet deficit to 24-22 . After stopping Victoria at Downs and forcing a punt, Dighton began her next drive on her own 7-yard line and then disaster struck.
Neeley had a snapshot through his legs and Schwien recovered the fumble to give the Knights an instant first and a goal. Grant Schoenrock finished the three-game drive with a one-yard run and after three quarters Victoria’s lead was 32-22. The Knights chewed on their next possession with a 12-play, 53-yard drive that ended with Werth’s third touchdown, this time from six yards, and the Knights held their largest lead up to that point at 38-22.
Dighton refused to give up and at 4:11 in the fourth quarter, Neeley threw his fourth touchdown pass of the game with that reception, which was overtaken by Jaden Coleman from 19 yards, but the Hornets missed the two-point conversion, falling behind 38 – 28. Then after an onsides kick attempt went out, resulting in a Hornet penalty, Victoria marched 40 yards in six games and Wohler topped it off with a 9 yard scamper to take the final 46-28 lead .
Victoria amassed 278 yards on the ground and counted 403 yards of total offense. Wohler had one of his best passing games of the season, completing five of six pass attempts for 125 yards and one touchdown. Dighton (9-2) ran 347 yards overall, and Neeley had a good night with the ball throwing 214 yards and four scores. When Victoria came into play with nearly 1,500 yards of rushing and 31 touchdowns, Victoria’s defense kept Neeley down to just 87 yards.
Victoria (10-1) wins her second section championship in a row and is now entering the sub-state finals, which will be the semi-finals of the 8-man Division II in Wheatland-Grinnell on Friday, November 19th. The Thunderhawks earned their place in the next round with a 46-0 away win at South Barber on Friday night. The game is a remake of last year’s section game that Victoria won 44-26. The Knights lost their 2020 Sub-State Championship game to St. Francis 44-22. The Indians, who lost in the title game of the 8-man division II against Hanover, did not qualify for the playoffs in 2021.
Kick-off in Grainfield is expected to be at 7pm and the game will be broadcast live on KRSL 95.9 FM and online on KRSL.com
8-man div. II bracket