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Indians Win Regional Contest

The St. Francis Indians advanced their season record to 10-0 with a 30-12 win over the Victoria Knights in the Regional Championship game on Greene Field in St. Francis on Friday, November 2. The Indians jumped out to a 30-6 halftime lead and held on to the lead to advance to the Sectional Championship game to be played in St. Francis on Friday, November 9, against the Jetmore-Hodgeman County Longhorns. Hodgeman County (9-1) defeated Spearville 76-48 to advance to the Sectional contest. Kick-off is set for 7:00 p.m. Note (11/8/18):  This game has been moved to Saturday, November 10, at 2:30 p.m. due to weather conditions.

Victoria advanced to the Regional Championship game with a 34-28 win over Wichita County. Sporting a 7-2 record, the Knights featured a large front line, powerful running backs, and a young but very talented quarterback. Victoria won the toss and elected to receive. Brady Dinkel's kick-off sailed into the end zone for a touchback.

Victoria ran Jayvon Pruitt (5' 7" 160 lb. So.) up the middle on the the first two snaps of the game. Pruitt was tackled by Cody Baxter for a one-yard loss on the first play and was stuffed by a host of Indian defenders on the next try. On 3rd-&-10, quarterback Grant Schoenrock (Fr.) tried the left side but was stopped after a three-yard gain by Baxter. Facing 4th-&-7, the Knights punted. The ball rolled dead at the St. Francis 24 yard line.

Quarterback Brady Dinkel tried the middle of the Knights' defense on the first play of the possession and was met by a number of defenders resulting in a two-yard loss. Dinkel gained 7 over the left side on the next play. On 3rd-down, Jordan Raby carried around the left end earning a 1st down at the St. Francis 37. Two Raby carries, one to the right and one to the left, resulted in five more yards. Dinkel's third-down run resulted in a measurement. The Indians needed approximately 6 more inches for a first down. A quarterback sneak on 4th-& inches resulted in a new set of downs, though Wyatt Dreiling (6' 0" 200 lb. Sr.) nearly stopped the advancement. On the next play, Dinkel rounded the right end and cruised to the Victoria 15 before being forced out-of-bounds by Walker Braun. Dinkel tried the right end for the second consecutive time earning 6 more. Two carries by Raby advanced the football to the two yard line setting up 1st-&-goal. On the next play, Dinkel carried the ball into the middle of the line for the first Indian touchdown. The Indians' conversion try was stopped just short of the goal by the Knight defenders. With 6:15 left in the first quarter, St. Francis lead 6-0.

Senior running back Tyler Knowles returned the kick-off to the Knights' 19 yard line; an 18 yard return. On the initial snap, quarterback Grant Schoenrock ran to the left and was tackled by Jesse Baxter. An illegal procedure penalty on the Knights erased the play and set up a 1st-&-15 situation. The Knights' next play, an option to the left, was stopped by Cody Baxter for no gain. A quick pass in the left flat earned 7 yards on the ensuing play. On 3rd-&-8, Schoenrock rolled right and passed to Jayvon Pruitt. Shadryon Blanka made the tackle on the play, but not before the Knights had earned enough for a new set of downs. Knowles earned 5 yards around the right end before being tackled by Tiernan Poling. On the next play, Knowles was met by Blanka and Jordan Raby limiting the gain to one yard. On 3rd-&-4, Schoenrock passed to Caden Oberle (6' 3' 190 lb. Sr.) in the right flat. The pass was complete, but only earned one yard before the play ended on a tackle by Blanka. Facing 4th-&-4, Victoria called time-out to discuss strategy (3:29). A play-action roll-out to the left earned Schoenrock and the Knights a first-down at the Indian 36. A quick-pitch to Pruitt going right and a Knowles run to the right each earned two yards before Schoenrock rolled left to earn approximately five yards. On 4th-&-a long one, the Knights earned a first down with a quarterback sneak. The Knights were building a sustained drive, and the Indians were needing to make a stop. On the next play, the snap was mishandled, but the Knights still earned four yards. On the following play, the Knights fumbled a hand-off, and Hunter Helton recovered for the Indians.

The Indians began on their own 19 yard line. Jordan Raby earned four yards going left on the first play of the possession, and Brady Dinkel ran the opposite side for a first down on the next play. With the ball now at the Indians' 34, Dinkel ran around the right end earning four and then threw to Cody Baxter rolling left on the next play. The Dinkel run ended the first period. On 3rd-&-2, Dinkel was stopped by the Knight's 325 lb. defensive lineman, Jacob Schroeder, for a one-yard loss. The Indians set up offense attempting to earn a first down instead of punt, and the Knights called time-out (10:39). Dinkel passed to Raby on the next snap, but the ball fell incomplete. A pass interference penalty on the Knights gave the Indians a new series at the Victoria 24 sustaining the drive. On the next play, Raby cruised over the right side for the second Indian touchdown. Cody Baxter powered over the left side for the conversion points. With 10:27 remaining in the second period, St. Francis led 14-0.

Knowles mishandled the kick-off, and the Indians' good coverage resulted in the Knights taking possession at the two yard line. The Knights appeared to fumble the first snap of the possession, and a quarterback sneak earned zero yardage. Knowles tried the right side on the next snap as was stopped by Jesse Baxter after a gain of one. A delay penalty on the Knights backed them up inside the two yard line. A play-action pass from Schoenrock to Oberle in the right flat gave the Knights a bit of breathing room and earned a first down at the 14. A hard spinning run by Pruitt moved the ball to the 35 where a play-action quarterback keeper earned 8 more. A strong run by Pruitt over the left side ended with a Raby tackle, but also moved the football to the Indian 29. On the next play, Schoenrock passed to senior Jake Wellbrock for the Knights first score of the game. An option to the right fell short on the conversion try due to a Blanka tackle. The scoreboard showed 14-6 with 6:37 left in the first half.

Junior Kirk Huser's kick-off was short and recovered by Jayce Nider at the St. Francis 38. A four-yard gain by Dinkel over the left side was followed by a Raby run to the right picking up one. On third down, Dinkel again ran left and was eventually forced out-of-bounds at the Knights' 24. On the next play, fate proved to be on the Indians' side, as a roll-out fumbled by Dinkel bounced directly up into his hands. The ball was then passed to Connor Keller who leaped over a defender to make the catch in the end zone. Cody Baxter ran untouched into the end zone for the conversion points. With 4:53 left in the half, St. Francis led 22-6.

Knowles returned the Indians' kick to the 22 yard line. An illegal block on the return backed the Knights up the 11. A fumbled snap on the first play was recovered by Schoenrock, but resulted in no gain. A middle screen to Wellbrock earned the Knights a first down at the 23. Two carries by Pruitt resulted in lost yardage with Cody Baxter recording the loss-of-yardage on the second try. On 3rd-&-11, a pass by Schoenrock was intercepted by Brady Dinkel and returned to the Knight's 30 before he was forced out-of-bounds.

Jordan Raby ran around the right end and was forced out-of-bounds at the 19. On the resulting first down, Raby ran right for two more and the Indians called time-out with 1:48 left in the half. After a loss on one on a Raby carry, Dinkel ran over the left side and out-of-bounds at the 11. With 1:01 left, Victoria called time-out. On the next play, Dinkel followed his blockers to the right earning a first down at the 2 yard line. Jordan Raby scored on the next snap running over the left side. Cody Baxter again ran untouched into the end zone for the conversion points. With 36.2 seconds left in the first half, the Indians had extended their lead to 30-6. 

Daryden Karlin (So.) returned the Indians short kick-off to the 30 yard line. Pruitt then carried over the right side earning a first down at the St. Francis 38. On the next play, Schoenrock rolled right and was hit solidly by Brady Dinkel causing an incomplete pass. After a false start penalty, Knowles ran over the left side closing the first half. St. Francis led 30-6 at halftime.

Shadryon Blanka returned the second half kick-off to the 29 yard line. Jordan Raby carried the football for the Indians on the next eight plays gaining yardage on each play and earning two first downs. The shortest gain of the bunch was a one-yard gain beginning at the Victoria 29. On the ninth play of the possession, Brady Dinkel earned five yards up the middle, but a holding penalty on the Indians erased the gain. Before the 3rd-&-14 play could get underway, another penalty on the Indians backed them up five more yards. The next running play lost another yard. What looked like a probable sustained scoring drive had turned into a 4th-&-20 situation near mid-field. Another loss on the 4th-down snap gave Victoria the football at mid-field.

Jayvon Pruitt carried the football on the first play of Knights' possession. He was stopped by Tiernan Poling for a 5-yard loss. A roll-out by Schoenrock ended in a sack by Jordan Raby on the next play. Facing 3rd-&-20, the Knights completed a screen pass to the left side. An illegal receiver downfield moved the Knights back. On 4th down and needing to score, the Knights ran a fake punt with Schoenrock carrying into the middle.

St. Francis took over on downs at their own 33 yard line. After a Dinkel carry earned two yards, Raby rounded the right end on what looked to be a nice gain, but on the tackle, the ball popped loose and the Knights recovered on their own 33 with 4:44 left in the third period. 

A pass from Schoenrock to Walker Braun in the right flat earned two yards before the play ended with a tackle by Jesse Baxter. After an encroachment penalty on the Indians, Hunter Helton stopped Pruitt for a one-yard gain. Pruitt earned a new set of downs with a run over the left side on the next play. Connor Keller made the tackle at the Indians' 34. Back-to-back carries by Pruitt earned 3 yards, before a quarterback keeper play was stuffed by a tackle by Cody Baxter and Adam Krien. On 4th-&-7, pressure by Krien created an incomplete pass by Schoenrock over the middle.

With 56 seconds left in the third period, the Indians took possession at their own 31. After a four-yard gain by Raby, Shadyon Blanka delivered a strong run that was blown dead before the Knights could bring Blanka to the ground. The play ended the third period. On 3rd-&-4, Dinkel ran left, but a holding penalty on the Indians backed them up 10 yards. Blanka gained 10 yards on another good run on the next play. The Indians punted on 4th down. The ball was downed by the Indians, but a holding penalty on the Knights moved the ball back to the 10 yard line.

Schoenrock earned a first down at the 20 on a keeper going right on the first play of the possession. Hunter Helton forced the Knights' quarterback out-of-bounds on the play. The Knights gifted quarterback gained yardage in the opposite direction on the next play, but an illegal block nullified the play. Another keeper to the left moved the ball to the Knights' 39. A broken play on the next snap moved the ball to midfield on another Schoenrock carry. After a carry by Knowles into the middle, Schoenrock ran a quarterback sweep to the left earning another first down at the Indian 30. A carry by Pruitt over the right side earning one yard preceded another quarterback roll-out. This time, Schoenrock passed to Pruitt for a first down at the Indian 15. Two hard runs by Knowles picked up 9 more yards, and on 4th-&-1, Schoenrock earned a first down at the 5 on a run to the right side. On the next play, Jayvon Pruitt scored on a 5-yard touchdown run over the left side. The conversion pass attempt was deflected incomplete by Brady Dinklel. The Knights had earned a sustained drive narrowing the margin to 30-12 with 6:06 remaining.

Trenton Engle recovered the Knights' on-side kick at the Victoria 38 after the kick bounced off an Indian player. Carries by Pruitt and Schoenrock earned one yard each. Cody Baxter was involved in the the tackles on both plays. On third down, a carry by Walker Braun around the right end resulted in a first down at the Indian 32. Hunter Helton made the tackle preventing additional yardage. On the next play, a bobbled snap was recovered by the Indians' Tiernan Poling at the 29 yard line with 4:39 left in the contest ending the Knight's scoring threat.

The Indians methodically used well-timed snaps utilizing most of the play clock before each play of their final possession. A one-yard run by Raby was followed by an strong 8-yard run by Blanka. On 3rd-&-1, Dinkel earned a new set of downs with a QB sneak. Now at midfield, two carries, one each by Raby and Dinkel, netted only one yard. Victoria called time-out with 2:02 remaining. On the next play, a reverse to Cody Baxter earned a new series at the Knight's 21 on a powerful run. After two carries by Raby advanced the ball to the 14, the Indians kneeled in victory formation to end the contest. St. Francis had defeated a good Victoria team 30-12.

The Indians will play Jetmore-Hodgeman County at 7:00 p.m. on Greene Field in St. Francis on Friday, November 9, for the Sectional Championship. Note (11/8/18):  This game has been moved to Saturday, November 10, at 2:30 p.m. due to weather conditions.

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