Audible ingenuity keeps Knights undefeated
Football: HTA improves to 3-0 with 28-0 win over Strathmore
Wednesday, Sep 27, 2017 06:00 am
Sometimes it takes entrepreneurial spirit to lift a team.
Holy Trinity Academy Knight Carson McKenzie called an audible on a punt at midfield and instead charged forward for a 55 yard touchdown to spark the Knights to a 28-0 victory over the Strathmore Spartans in high school football action Friday night in Okotoks.
“Coach wanted me to kick it out of bounds,” McKenzie said. “But when the ball was snapped I just saw the whole team leave expecting me to kick it and I saw a big gap and in my head I thought ‘I should just go for this.’ I went for it, no one came after me and we had some pretty good blocking after everyone found out.”
The defensive end knows he’s fortunate the play worked out or he might have heard about it on the sidelines. He joked you might see him get some snaps on offence going forward.
“They can’t get mad for me scoring a touchdown,” McKenzie said. “Coach said if I wouldn’t have made that I would have been in some deep trouble.”
The Knights found their legs on offence after the first major put them up 10-0 and nearly went into the half on the heels of another touchdown.
Quarterback Julian Jenkins broke free for a 45 yard scamper to get the hosts in the red-zone only to see the promising two-minute drill end in a turnover on downs.
HTA kept at it in the second half, adding touchdowns on its first two possessions after the defence forced turnovers to put the game firmly out of reach.
“Something at halftime just clicked and we scored a couple times off the bat,” said Knights full back and defensive lineman Spencer Kessel. “We kept driving the field and they never really had a chance to get those points back.”
Key to the second-half surge, the Knights adjusted to the Spartans’ unusual formation on defence.
“The first half was a little closer than we were comfortable with,” Kessel said. “They had a defence we’ve never seen before. They played more of a 3-5 with three down linemen and five linebackers and no safety. Not a lot of teams have the confidence to run that and we just figured it out.”
The vaunted Knights defence took over from there.
Led by its ferocious front-seven the Knights have not allowed an offensive touchdown against this season through three games.
“We stopped the run really well,” McKenzie said. “Our defence is probably one of the best in Alberta right now for run defence. The front seven, we really click, we’re not big or anything, but we’re fast and we go and we have an intensity where we don’t want them to score.”
The Knights improved to 3-0 on the season with the victory and maintained their No. 5 Tier II ranking.
The defence will get its stiffest test of the season on Friday when the Knights make the cross-town trek to Falcons Field for the annual battle of Okotoks on Sept. 29 at 7 p.m.
“I know our guys are excited, our guys are pumped up to get a chance to go at them again,” Kessel said. “They’ve got the same thing going in their heads too, but we’re a different team this year. They haven’t seen a team like this from HTA before.”
The game has added meaning.
It’s not only a potential bye to the Big Rock championship for the victor.
“It’s very intense. There is a lot of back-and-forth over social media and it’s not even just the players, but kids from different schools just watching,” Kessel said. “It’s kind of like the Super Bowl. That’s what it’s like for me because I’ve played with those guys for seven, eight years.”