Toronto avoids upset with win over Leetonia


Knights capitalize on two crucial turnovers to pull away

LEETONIA, OHIO (WKBN) – The Toronto Red Knight avoided getting upset in a trap game as they knocked off Leetonia Friday night 38-7.  With the victory the Red Knight’s improve to 5-1 on the season while the Bears drop to 3-3.

Following a loss in week one, the Knights have rolled off four consecutive wins, including a big 12-6 win last week over previously unbeaten Crestwood.  Next week the Knights play another unbeaten in Oak Glenn.

“That’s something we talked about all week,” Knights head coach Josh Franke said.  “We have another undefeated team next week in Oak Glenn, and it’s one of those situations we knew this could potentially be a trap game for us.  We told them all week, ‘guys stay focused, guys stay focused’.”

“Honestly, I don’t we think we got through to them,” Franke added about his team staying focused.  “We kind of got punched in the mouth early on.  You have to credit Leetonia.  They came out and fought hard and played well.”

But it was the Knights who looked like they were squarely focused on the game at hand.  Senior receiver Brendan Matyas took the opening kickoff and raced 85-yards for a touchdown just 14-seconds into the contest.  They would add a 10-yard pass from quarterback Caleb Leasure to receiver Zach Stackhouse with 8:05 remaining in the first quarter to make it 12-0.

But the Bears would answer with a 10-play, 66-yard drive with Brett Davis plunging in from just 1-yard out.  That score would cut the Bears deficit to 12-7 with 2:18 left in the opening quarter.

Following a Bears fumble at midfield, the Knights took advantage of the miscue by scoring on a 34-yard pass from Leasure to Stackhouse.  That score would come at the 9:21 mark of the second quarter.

Leasure would connect on 7 of 13 passes in the game for 131 yards and 4 touchdowns.  Stackhouse would be on the receiving end of 2 touchdowns, and tight end Shane Keenan would snag the other two passing scores.

With the Knights leading 18-7, the sequence at the end of the half and beginning of the second half would determine the outcome of the game.  With only 8-seconds before halftime, Bears quarterback Dylan Lemon’s pass was batted and picked off by Stackhouse in the corner of the end zone, turning the Bears away from scoring.

Then on just the third play of the second half, Knights’ defensive back would pick off Lemon again.  This time the Knights would take over at the Bears 33 where they would capitalize on a 3-yard pass from Leasure to Keenan.  That made it 24-7 with 7:53 left in the third quarter.

“That was huge.  We talked about that on our headsets.  If they were able to score right before the half, we’re maybe up by six, and then they get the ball to start the half.  They potentially could score and tie the game up.  So that was a big series for us.  They say how a couple plays are the difference in a game, you can say that those two plays back-to-back were the difference that brought things into our favor,” Franke remarked.

The Knights would add two more touchdowns as Keenan would take a screen pass 59-yards for a score at 5:11 remaining in the third quarter making it 32-7.  Then running back Garrett Dozier blasted in from just 1-yard out with only 6:04 left in the game to make it the final 38-7 score.

“Hey, our kids kept playing,” Bears head coach Paul Hulea said.  “Hats off to them.  They have a good club and they are well-coached.  He (Franke) does a nice job with that group.  We just have to keep playing.”

“I’m proud of our kids.  They played hard, and there was no quit,” Hulea added.  “We gave a great effort.  But I feel bad for our seniors, we have just one more home game and we want to do it right for them.”

As mentioned, next week the Knight will play at undefeated Oak Glenn.  The Bears will travel to Lisbon next Friday in the annual “Spaghetti Bowl” with the Blue Devils as the return to league play.

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